Tag: "Salem Media Group"

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

| November 27, 2018

iHeartMedia Launches New FM Sports Talker in Milwaukee. The sports talk radio battle in Brew Town is getting serious as iHeartMedia flips CHR WRNW to sports talk as “97.3 The Game, Sports Talk That Rocks,” effective immediately.  iHM already owns WOKY “The Big 920” that carries primarily FOX Sports Radio content.  Across town is Entercom’s WSSP-AM/W289CB “105.7 FM The Fan” airing local sports talk during the day and syndicated fare at night.  And, of course, there’s Good Karma Brands’ new FM sports talker WKTI “ESPN Milwaukee 94.5” that’s airing the same mix of local and ESPN Radio programming as sister suburban AM WAUK, Waukesha.  Good Karma also owns news/talk WTMJ (thanks to its recent $16 million acquisition of the two stations from Scripps Media) which has the play-by-play broadcast rights to Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Milwaukee Bucks games.  Getting back to “97.3 The Game,” the station will air a blend of local and syndicated content including: former Brewers beat writer and Milwaukee radio host Drew Olson, Milwaukee Bucks radio voice Ted Davis, WISN-TV sports director Dan Needles, FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Dario Melendez, Spectrum SportsBob Brainerd, longtime market morning personality Kevin Brandt, a.k.a. KB, and Wisconsin Badgers sports voice Mike Heller.  “The Game” program director Tim Scott says, “Sports talk in Milwaukee is about to change.  Milwaukee is more than just a great sports town and ‘97.3 The Game’ will reflect that.”

Salem Launches Multimedia Ad Agency. In order to effectively sell its broad range of media options, Salem Media Group announces it has developed Salem Surround, “a nationwide multimedia ad agency with locations in 35 markets across the country.”  The press release says that “in addition to selling audio and digital advertising on its 116 radio stations and websites, Salem Surround offers a comprehensive suite of digital marketing services to develop and execute audience-based marketing strategies for clients on both the local and national levels.”  Salem Media Group CEO Edward Atsinger adds, “From our beginning as just a few local radio stations to the nationwide multi-platform media company we are today, Salem has worked hard to stay in tune with our listeners, readers, clients, and partners to meet their growing needs.  Salem Surround is yet another way for us to serve with excellence nationwide, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”  Company VP of digital marketing Jamie Cohen states, “With consumers spending more and more time on smart phones and tablets, the media landscape has become significantly more complicated for business owners and marketers to navigate.  The one-size-fits-all marketing approach of just a decade ago has quickly become outdated.  Combining the power of Salem Radio with a full-service digital advertising strategy will allow us to go above and beyond in meeting the needs of advertisers around the country.”

NBA’s Spurs Sign with Skyview Networks for Broadcast Services. The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs are working with Skyview Networks, using the latter’s radio distribution network and AdView Inventory Management software for its WOAI, San Antonio-based play-by-play broadcasts.  Skyview says its “AdView system provides inventory scheduling, revenue reporting, and affidavit reconciliation in one consolidated system. This allows the organization’s front office to manage the complex nature of play-by-play contracts with ease.  Now the Spurs have access to detailed inventory tracking, which in turn generates instant affidavits to speed the billing and receivables process.”  Skyview VP of business development Matt Stys says, “I am thrilled to call the San Antonio Spurs a partner.  We are proud of the package of services we provide, and I am confident in the value the Spurs will receive with our high-quality distribution and streamlined inventory management system.”

Programmer/Researcher Roberts Succumbs to Cancer. Programmer and research expert Dave Roberts (Kelliher) lost his long battle against cancer last Saturday (11/24). The former architect and PD of San Francisco’s KRQR “The Rocker” became vice president of programming for the RKO Radio Networks and vice president of FM programming for CBS. He and RKO news vice president Dave Cooke formed Roberts/Cooke Media Research. In addition to consulting news/talk outlets, Roberts provided research to television stations and retailers. His on-air credits included stops in San Francisco (KYA and KIOI “K-101”); Anaheim (KEZY); Riverside-San Bernardino (KMEN); Fresno (KYNO); and Honolulu (KPOI). SoundOut president/North America Rob Sisco hired Roberts at “K-101” in 1981. “Dave went on to host national radio shows and filled-in several times for Casey Kasem on ‘American Top 40,’” Sisco points out. “Jo [Interrante] and I hired him when we had IS Inc to host RKO Radio Networks artist profiles we produced, ‘Music Star Special,’ and ‘The Hot Ones.’ Dave narrated more than 250 shows for RKO. He was an amazing talent, a brilliant programmer and researcher, a delightfully nice man, and a dear friend to all who knew him. Rest in peace my dear friend – you are missed.”  Of Roberts, veteran programmer (WGN, Chicago; WBAP, Dallas; WCCO, Minneapolis; NRG Media) Bob Shomper comments, “The absolute best research guy around – and an even better person.”  RKO Radio Networks’ former director of affiliate relations Julie Spira states, “My heart aches seeing this news.  I loved working with Dave at RKO Radio Networks.  May he rest in peace.” John Evans notes, “We’ve lost another brilliant broadcaster.  I was lucky to have worked with Dave at KYA from 1979 until [Rob] Sisco grabbed him for ‘K-101.’ We were doing great radio in those storied days and Dave was one of the best. His shows for RKO and IS Inc were top notch.” Owing to the fact Roberts held a Ph.D. in communications research from the University of Oregon, he was often called “Dr. Dave.” Surviving Roberts, who turned 70 earlier this month, is his wife – Walsh College (Troy, Michigan) president Marsha Kelliher. A private funeral for Roberts will be held later this week, followed by a memorial.

Talking Trump. Pictured above are former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (right) and Citizens United president (and former Trump deputy campaign manager) David Bossie (left) at the ABC News Radio studios where they talked to affiliate stations about their new book, Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State Is Undermining the Presidency (2018, Center Street).  (Photo: ABC News)

Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Allegedly Violates Plea Deal, GM Announces Job Cuts, Climate Change Report, U.K. Facebook Documents, Undecided Congressional Races, Russia-Ukraine Aggression, Mars Landing, the Brexit Deal, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26). The anticipated release of Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation into potential connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related allegation from Mueller that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort lied to investigators after making his plea deal; General Motors announces job cuts and plant closings in the U.S.; the U.S. government’s ominous climate change report and President Trump’s response; the U.K.’s possession of Facebook documents relative to the Cambridge Analytica data use scandal; the status of the remaining 2018 election results; global response to Russia’s military aggression in the Ukraine; NASA’s successful Mars InSight landing mission; the U.K.’s latest Brexit deal with the EU nations and its implications for U.S.-U.K. trade; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Pittsburgh Entercom-owned radio stations WBZZ-FM, “100.7 STAR” and country WDSY “Y108” are presenting “A Concert for Unity” to benefit the rebuilding of Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, the site of the deadly assault on worshippers there on October 27.  The event, live from Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on Sunday, December 2, will feature Dan + Shay, FRZY, and The Andy Davis Band and will be broadcast live on both stations.  All proceeds from the show are going to rebuild Tree of Life. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Pittsburgh suffered an unfathomable tragedy and our community has come together to support our neighbors in their time of need.  Through the generosity of local Pittsburgh artists and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, ‘A Concert for Unity’ will directly support the rebuilding of Tree of Life.”…..Morning show personality Frank Lario exits Beasley Media Group’s country WXTU, Philadelphia where he was working alongside Andie Summers, who is holding down the show solo while a search is on for a partner…..Programming pro Robyn Simone is named PD at Cumulus Media’s urban AC WLXC, Columbia, South Carolina “KISS 103.1,” effective December 10.  During her career, Simone has served for 10 years with Radio One in markets including Detroit and Cleveland…..Sales pro Kimberly Parker is named general sales manager at Cumulus Media’s country WIVK, Knoxville.  She most recently served as VP of advertising with the Las Vegas Media Group.  She comments, “It’s great to be back in Knoxville.  This is my home.  I know the wonderful history and significance of WIVK in East Tennessee and I am honored and thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this talented and well-established staff.”…..Big Broadcasting’s KOKO-FM, Fresno flips from oldies to classic hip hop and R&B as “Jammin’ 94.3” entering into a deal with Envision Networks for programming and ad sales.  Station program director Mike Marino says, “Our unique blend of old school and R&B throwbacks super serves an adult female audience ignored by other contemporary and gold-based radio stations in the market.  Passion levels for this music are off the charts. Fresno will get the ‘feels’ from Jammin.’”…..Tragic news strikes iHeartMedia’s hip hop WWWZ, Charleston, South Carolina “Z93 Jamz” as authorities in Beaufort County report finding the body of 28-year-old Nathaniel Scott Jr., known on the radio as DJ Tough Love, in a wooded area where he’d been shot to death.  Authorities are still investigating the matter.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

| November 8, 2018

Craig Carton Found Guilty of Fraud Charges.  Former WFAN, New York morning drive personality Craig Carton was convicted on three fraud charges – securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud – on the second day of deliberations in his trial by a Manhattan jury.  Federal prosecutors charged that Carton had used almost $7 million from investors in a concert tickets re-sale scheme for personal expenses and to pay off gambling debts.  Prosecutors even called a loan shark named Desmond Finger to the stand testify he gave Carton loans totaling as much as $500,000 that Carton failed to repay.  They called a hedge fund executive who testified he gave Carton more than $5 million to invest in tickets in 2016.  The feds also say Carton doctored emails to make it appear to investors that he had a tickets contract with Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Barclays Center and the Nassau Coliseum.  Carton’s defense claimed he was a victim of partner Michael Wright, who pleaded guilty, and associate Joseph Meli, who is serving time for bilking investors in his own concert tickets scheme.  The New York Post reports that Carton could get as much as 45 years in federal prison when he’s sentenced on February 27 of next year, though he’s likely to get far less.  Carton’s attorney Robert Gottlieb says they will appeal the verdict.  Carton was half of the highly rated morning show with Boomer Esiason on WFAN before his arrest in September of 2017. Prior to that, he’d been a successful talk show host on WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”

Cumulus Names Lee Hammer PD for KGO and KSFO in San Francisco. It was just last month – October 5 – that Cumulus Media announced programmer Jack Swanson would return to the Bay Area stations he programmed so successfully for so many years.  But Swanson has had a change of heart and now the company is naming San Francisco cluster operations manager Lee Hammer PD for KGO and KSFO.  Hammer served KGO and KSFO as interim program director in 2015 during which he was also PD for sports talkers KNBR and KTCT.  Cumulus San Francisco VP and market manager Doug Harvill says, “Lee Hammer did an excellent job while handling the programming for KGO and KSFO.  It’s an easy choice to hand Lee the keys to these two legendary radio stations.”  As for Swanson, he’ll serve the station as a programming consultant.  He states, “I realize my decision to return to the beach is sudden.  I quickly fell in love all over again with these wonderful stations and their talented people, but ultimately, my change of heart comes from my desire to fully enjoy a future of unlimited fun, travel, and adventure.  And making this move complete, through the unbelievable graciousness of Doug Harvill, Lee Hammer, and the entire Cumulus corporate team, I’ll still have the opportunity to contribute my ideas for the future of these amazing radio stations.”

St. Louis Talk Host Jamie Allman and Emmis/Entercom Settle.  There are literally no details in the court filing in United States District Court in Missouri about the settlement and we’ll likely never know what they are, but the legal battle between former KFTK-FM, St. Louis Jamie Allman and Emmis Communications and Entercom is over.  The two sides were sent into “alternative dispute resolution” by the court and it worked in as much as a trial was avoided.  Allman was suing Emmis (seller of KFTK-FM) and Entercom (operating it under an LMA) on basically two complaints: that the companies owed him money after firing him for his Tweet about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg, and that his firing was a breach of contract.  Previously, the two sides settled the money issue (privately, of course) and now they’ve settled the termination matter.  Meanwhile, Marc Cox is now the host of the morning show on KFTK-FM and Allman is producing his own daily morning show via the digital Radio Free Allman Network.

RTDNA Demands the White House Restore CNN’s Jim Acosta’s Media Credentials.  One of the nation’s leading organizations supporting radio and TV journalists – the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) – condemns the revoking of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s hard pass a few hours after he attempted to ask questions of President Trump at yesterday’s (11/7) post-election press conference. The organization issued the following statement: “The RTDNA and its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force condemn this obvious punitive action of the administration and call on it to restore Mr. Acosta’s credentials immediately.  In the statement RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley says, “The leader of the free world has consistently ridiculed journalists who report the truth as purveyors of ‘fake news’ and the ‘[enemies] of the American people.’  To go a nearly unprecedented step further and revoke the credentials of a responsible journalist who was merely attempting to ask a question of the president is unconscionable.”  The statement continues: “Furthermore, the White House attempted to justify its decision to revoke Acosta’s credentials in part by alleging he had essentially assaulted a staffer who attempted to take a microphone from his hands.”  Shelley adds, “Any objective observer of the staffer’s attempt to confiscate the microphone Mr. Acosta was holding would surely conclude that he acted professionally and in a non-aggressive manner. He even said to her, ‘pardon me, ma’am.’”  The RTDNA formed the nonpartisan Voice of the First Amendment Task Force to defend against threats to the First Amendment and news media access and to help the public better understand why responsible journalism is essential to their daily lives. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison speaks about this development with Dan Shelley earlier this morning (11/8).  To listen to that conversation, please click 

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Salem Media Group Q3 Revenue Flat; Broadcast Division Posts Positive Numbers. Although the third quarter total revenue for Salem Media Group, Inc. was basically flat at $65.5 million (up 0.1%), and the broadcast division’s net revenue was up only 0.8% ($48.8 million from $48.4 million a year ago), same station figures were up.  Station Operating Income increased 2.4% to $11.7 million from $11.4 million in Q3 of 2017; Same Station net broadcast revenue increased 1.9% to $47.8 million from $46.9 million; and Same Station SOI increased 2.3% to $12.1 million from $11.8 million.  On another positive note, the company posts a net income of $1.2 million in the third quarter of 2018, compared to a loss of $46,000 in Q3 of 2017.  Salem’s digital division was consistent at $10.4 million and the publishing division dipped 3.7% to $6.3 million.

iHeartMedia Files Q3 Financial Data with SEC; Revenue Up 1.6%.  There are not a lot of detailed breakdowns in this 8-K filing with the Securities Exchange Commission from iHeartMedia.  We do see that revenue for the third quarter of 2018 was $873 million – up 1.6% from $859 million a year ago.  iHeartMedia has been releasing monthly financial updates as is makes its way through Chapter 11 reorganization but releases this quarterly report today (11/8). It doesn’t contain any same station data valuable for analyzing the radio operations a bit deeper.

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey, today focusing on Major League Baseball flagships.  This is the third and final review of MLB flagship outlets this year.  Interestingly, Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston – flagship for the World Champion Red Sox – lost weekly AQH share from October 2017 to October 2018 (5.9 to 5.1).  The Los Angeles Dodgers flagship iHeartMedia’s KLAC was up from a 1.0 share to a 1.7 share during the same period. Milwaukee Brewers flagship then-Scripps’ WTMJ was the big winner here, rising from a 7.3 share to a 10.4 share, year over year.  See the whole story here.

Midterm Election Results, Sessions Resigns AG Post/Future of Mueller Probe, Trump Suspends Acosta Press Credentials, Deadly California Bar Shooting, Antifa Threats Against Media Figures, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7). The results of Tuesday’s midterm elections that saw the Democrats take control of the House and Republicans add seats in the Senate; Attorney General Jeff Sessions agrees to resign post and the future of Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation; President Trump suspends CNN reporter Jake Acosta’s White House press credentials; a gunman kills 11 and himself in a country bar in Los Angeles; reports of conservative media figures getting threats from Antifa groups; and the week’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

‘SuperTalk 99.7 WTN’ Wraps ‘Voice Your Vote’ Tour.  Pictured above are WWTN-FM, Nashville personalities at the final stop of the “2018 Voice Your Vote Tour” at MAFIAoZA’s in Franklin, Tennessee on Tuesday evening. The “2018 Voice Your Vote Tour” launched in March in Franklin and has included stops featuring WTN hosts and voter registration opportunities throughout the year at venues in Nashville, Mt. Juliet, Bellevue, and Hendersonville, Tennessee.  From right to left are: Dave Zanotti, Michael DelGiorno, Phil Valentine, Dan Mandis, and Brian Wilson.

Lars Larson Featured in ‘KGW-TV Carpool’ Personality Segment.  Nationally and regionally syndicated, KXL-FM, Portland-based talk host Lars Larson was interviewed by KGW-TV, Portland news anchor Brenda Braxton for the station’s segment, “KGW Carpool.”  In the segment, Braxton interviews Larson as they drive around Portland, but there’s one catch – no talking politics.  Larson is syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks and regionally via the Radio Northwest Network.  See the five-minute video here.

AWMF Announces Call for Entries for 2019 Gracie Awards. The Gracie Awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, opens the call for entries for the 44th Annual Gracie Awards Gala, taking place May 21, 2019, at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills and the Gracie Awards Luncheon, taking place June 26, 2019, in New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street.  The AWMF says that each year attention is given to evaluating categories which included adding one for writers in television and creating more avenues for radio hosts/co-hosts, including adding in market size in various categories.  AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “Each year, the Gracie Awards Gala and Luncheon celebrate and honor truly exceptional content by, for and about women.  It is our belief that recognizing expertise, courage and contributions across all segments of media is essential to ensuring continued growth for our industry.  AWM has been shining a spotlight on the individual and collective achievements of the best and brightest women in media for over 40 years.  As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Gracies enables the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to deliver on its promise of furthering the connection, education and recognition of women in media.”  The 2019 Gracie Awards entry eligibility air dates are from January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2018. Early bird rates for entries end on December 13, 2018, at 11:59 pm ET. The deadline for all entries is January 17, 2019, at 11:59 pm ET.  Entry details including pricing and updated categories can be viewed at https://allwomeninmedia.org/gracies/call-for-entries/.  To see more about the 2018 Gracie Awards, including the media release and past video, visit https://allwomeninmedia.org/gracies/gracies-coverage/.

Great Programming Opportunity at Atlanta’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM.  The Cox Media Group heritage news/talk outlet is seeking a senior operations and programming manager to assist the director of branding and programming.  The job summary says, “Assists the ‘Director of Branding and Programming’ as 2nd in command for the WSB Radio Brand in executing the WSB Programming Strategy, to include managing and developing Talk Talent, Hosts, Producers, the Operations team, Imaging Producers, as well as coordinating strategic goals and input with the News Director, Manager of Traffic Operations, and Director of Digital/Social. Also, handles assigned administrative duties, personnel management, coordination of schedules, and promotions (sales and marketing). Serves as member of the WSB Radio Strategic Team, and coordinates with CMG Research for Nielsen Ratings Reports, Analysis, and Market research.”  See more about this excellent opportunity here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Classic hits WIAD, Washington “94.7 The Drive” announces DC market pro Albie Dee is the new afternoon drive personality on the former hot AC outlet, effective November 12.  Entercom vice president of programming Steve Davis says, “Albie Dee is a radio legend in DC and I am beyond excited to have him return to the market as the first personality on ‘94.7 The Drive.’”…..The changes at iHeartMedia’s CHR KYLD, San Francisco “WiLD 94.9” include the departure of afternoon drive personality Julianontheradio from that role and the move of evening jock Gabby Diaz into the drive time slot.  Filling the evening show host position is current JV show cast member Crystal Rosas.  Julianontheradio will continue to serve with the company handling part-time and voice-tracking duties…..iHeartMedia’s “The Breakfast Club” morning drive show hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God is presenting this year’s #Change4Change – an all-day radiothon that will benefit PROJECT 375 – taking place on Thursday, November 15, 2018 during “The Breakfast Club” show across more than 77 syndicated markets. It will continue from 10:00 am to 12:00 midnight on flagship WWPR, New York “Power 105.1,” with other participating markets to be announced…..Cumulus Media’s country WFMS, Indianapolis has been recognized by the Indiana Broadcasters Association as the Radio Station of the Year. The station received the same honor in 2008 and 2012.  Pictured below at the 2018 Spectrum Awards Luncheon are (from l-r): morning hosts Jim Denny and Kevin Freeman, assistant program director Kash, morning host Deb Honeycut, marketing director Jan Thoman, and VP/market manager Chuck Fredrick.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

| August 9, 2018

Tribune Terminates Sinclair Merger Agreement. Included in our story yesterday which dealt with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s second-quarter earnings report (Talkers.com, 8/8) was the following quote from Sinclair president and chief executive officer Chris Ripley who addressed the pending acquisition of Tribune Media Company: “We are working with them to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees, and shareholders.” It was announced early today that not only is the marriage between the two entities over, Tribune Media is suing Sinclair Broadcast Group for breach of contract; the suit was filed today (Thursday, 8/9) in Delaware Chancery Court. The proposed $3.9 billion deal hit a snag when the FCC designated it for a hearing, a red flag that the transaction would most likely not be approved. Last month, FCC chair Ajit Pai raised “serious concerns” about the deal, which originally would have reached roughly 70% of U.S. households. Tribune is charging that, “In an effort to maintain control over stations it was obligated to sell, Sinclair engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with the Department of Justice and the FCC over regulatory requirements; refused to sell stations in the markets as required to obtain approval; and proposed aggressive divestment structures and related-party sales that were either rejected outright or posed a high risk of rejection and delay – all in derogation of Sinclair’s contractual obligations.” Tribune further claims, “Sinclair’s entire course of conduct has been in blatant violation of the merger agreement; but for Sinclair’s actions, the transaction could have closed long ago.” According to Tribune chief executive officer Peter Kern, “In light of the FCC’s unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair’s conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger cannot be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever. This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the merger agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable.” Revenue for Tribune’s only radio property – Chicago news/talk WGN – is not broken out in the company’s second-quarter financials. “Notwithstanding our disappointment regarding the outcome of the [Sinclair] transaction,” Kern remarks, “we are extremely pleased with our second quarter results, which were very strong. Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA grew 69% versus the prior year period and 84% for the first half of the year. While net core advertising revenues declined 6%, we were able to drive consolidated revenue growth of 6% when excluding the impact of barter revenues, with solid growth in retransmission and carriage fees revenues and political advertising revenue. Our disciplined focus on cost management drove programming expenses down 29% and corporate and other cash expenses, excluding transaction costs, down 19% over the prior year period.”

Rumor Becomes Fact: Warner Is WW One’s Lead MNF Analyst. Just this past Tuesday (Talkers.com, 8/7), we referenced a report by Richard Deitsch in The Athletic, hinting that Hall of Fame QB and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner would join Kevin Harlan as Westwood One’s lead analyst for “Monday Night Football” and the Super Bowl. It is now official: Warner’s first broadcast will be in a little over four weeks (9/10), when the Oakland Raiders host the Los Angeles Rams. He becomes only the fourth regular “MNF” analyst for Westwood One since its broadcast partnership with the NFL began 40 years ago. The others were Boomer Esiason (2000-2017); Matt Millen (1996-2000); and Hank Stram (1978-1984, 1987-1995). Ever since he retired from the NFL, Warner insists he has “been blessed” with tremendous broadcasting opportunities. “I am grateful to Westwood One for this opportunity and for believing in me with this role. The bar has been set extremely high by Boomer Esiason and others. I look forward to grabbing the torch, working hard, and maintaining the sense of excellence that has become synonymous with Westwood One. I also look forward to continuing my relationship with Kevin Harlan, who I believe is one of the best play-by-play people in the business.” Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “We have been proud partners of the NFL for more than four decades and our best-in-class broadcasts feature the brightest stars from the league. Kurt Warner is a keen observer with a great eye and unique analysis. He adds another layer of authenticity, knowledge, and expertise to our roster. He is an incredible asset for our loyal and passionate listeners and engaged advertisers.” Westwood One Sports executive vice president/executive producer Howard Deneroff adds, “To have a player, and person, of Kurt Warner’s caliber become our lead analyst is incredibly exciting. We look forward to Kevin and Kurt working together full-time. We are confident that they will continue the legacy of great Westwood One broadcast teams which have informed and entertained listeners on Monday nights for decades.” A 2017 inductee in the pro football Hall of Fame, Warner played 12 seasons in the NFL, leading two different franchises (St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals) to Super Bowl appearances. He was the NFL’s MVP in 1999 and 2001. He and wife, Brenda, created “The First Things First Foundation,” dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, and “Treasure House,” which provides a supportive living environment for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Multi-Year TuneIn, Cumulus Deal Expands Streaming Partnership. The arrangement between the two principals calls for streaming of Cumulus Media’s 441 stations in 90 markets, as well as shows on co-owned Westwood One Podcast Network on the TuneIn platform. Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner remarks, “We understand that consumers engage with content across multiple platforms and devices. We put our listeners first, and we have made it our mission to provide a modern and platform-agnostic listening experience. Expanding our partnership with TuneIn takes our distribution and promotional opportunities to the next level, exposing our portfolio of leading stations, shows, and programs to new fans.” TuneIn chief executive officer John Donham states, “As the world’s leader in live digital audio, we are thrilled to provide our listeners access to some of the best live-station programming across sports, news, talk, music, and entertainment, as well as popular podcasts and other on-demand content offered by Cumulus Media. We look forward to a long and successful partnership as we grow the next chapter of the audio business together.” Heretofore, Cumulus Media stations have been available through iHeartRadio, as well as TuneIn.

Salem Media Group Reports Mixed Q2 Results. Second-quarter total revenue for Salem Media Group increased .2% to $66.3 million; net broadcast revenue rose 2.7% to $50.6 million; and station operating income held steady at $13.3 million. Conversely, operating income fell 84.4% to $1.3 million and net income spiraled from a gain of $1.3 million to a loss of $2.2 million. In addition, EBITDA dropped 40.8% to $6 million and Adjusted EBITDA fell 9.4% to $11.2 million. A full-slate of Salem Radio Network talk shows aired on news/talk WBIX, Boston but, in early-January (2018), Salem Media Group agreed to sell “The Buzz” for $685,000 to the International Church of the Grace of God, which – through an LMA – flipped the station to a Portuguese format; the sale was finalized approximately two months ago (6/20). The second-quarter included a $5.7 million net loss on the sale of stations in Omaha and land in Covina, California. Salem Media Group projects third-quarter total revenue to be flat or up 2% from 2017’s $65.4 million.


Round Three of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

TALKERS News Notes. Under newly-signed five-year deals, Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph will return calling Toronto Maple Leafs hockey games. The NHL team’s radio broadcasts are split between Rogers sports talk CJCL “Sports Net 590 The Fan” and Bell Media sports talk CHUM “TSN Radio 1050.” Per The Toronto Sun, the deal is for radio only. This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame Foster Hewitt award winner – Bowen – has been calling Toronto Maple Leafs games since 1982; Ralph has been on the broadcasts since 1997 ….. Morning driver John Hines is retiring at the end of the month from heritage Entercom Minneapolis news/talk WCCO. Newly-arrived (from Entercom Philadelphia) operations manager Andy Bloom is holding on-air auditions to fill that upcoming “News Radio 830” vacancy. In a station memo obtained by City Pages, Bloom writes, “My only interest is getting someone that will generate an audience. The fact is, the majority of news/talk radio listeners are center-right.” ….. Former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown is named co-host of KNBR’s pregame and postgame NFL coverage. This marks the 14th year of 49ers football on the Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk outlet. Program director Jeremiah Crowe comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dennis Brown to the KNBR family. Dennis brings a Super Bowl champion’s perspective to our coverage, and he will maintain a regular analyst role throughout the week during our primetime talk programming. The addition of Dennis further strengthens KNBR’s NFL roster as the strongest in all of sports radio.” Brown, who was a 49ers television analyst from 2012 – 2017, adds, “As a Bay Area native, I’m very excited to be joining KNBR’s game-day broadcast team. I’ve listened to KNBR for decades and jumped at the opportunity to join their pregame and postgame coverage.” Brown was the 47th overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft and played all seven years of his career for San Francisco, including 1995, when he was part of the team that won Super Bowl XXIX ….. Meanwhile, in Seattle, Dave Wyman is named radio analyst for the NFL’s Seahawks on Bonneville-owned flagships KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” and news/talk KIRO-FM “Radio 97.3.” The former linebacker (Seahawks and Denver Broncos) will work alongside play-by-play announcer Steve Raible during the regular season; Jen Mueller and John Clayton return as sideline reporters ….. Cleveland-based podcast production and radio syndication network Front Porch Media Network acquires Pit Pass Media Group, producers of weekly two-hour motorcycle racing podcast “Pit Pass Moto,” which has had 785,015 episode downloads in the last four years. Front Porch chief executive officer Michael DeAloia notes, “We look forward to enhancing the brand and building new content. We continue to concentrate on building a dynamic and engaging podcast portfolio. ‘Pit Pass Moto’ is a prestigious podcast and one that merits additional resources and investment.” The podcast’s partner and guest host Ed Kuhlenkamp remarks, “We are excited about the Front Porch Media acquisition and what it means for the show’s fans. We believe Front Porch Media has the resources required to take the ‘Pit Pass Moto’ brand to the next level.”

Harrison Podcast Resurrects 36-Year-Old Interview with Apple I and Apple II Inventor Steve Wozniak. In commemoration of Apple, Inc. reaching the historic milestone of a one trillion dollar valuation, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison dug up a 36-year-old interview that he conducted with Apple, Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, the designer and inventor of the original Apple I and II personal computers. It is the centerpiece of this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Originally aired in 1982 on the pioneering national cable TV talk show “Harrison’s Mic,” the 24-minute conversation explores the beginnings of Apple Computer, Inc. (as it was then called) from what was a relatively recent perspective (it was only six years old). More importantly, it reveals the prescient thinking and perspective of one of the most important electronic designers and computer scientists of the digital era (and eventual philanthropist) when he was only 32 years old and society had merely scratched the surface of the revolution about to change the way people live and think. This fascinating interview is a must-listen for pop culture enthusiasts and media freaks. Michael Harrison states, “I am only first understanding the level of historical and intellectual gold that exists in the thousands of interviews, specials and broadcasts collecting dust in my archives that go back a half-century. We never realized when this content was being created in those early days that it would be of such historical interest and value. It just seemed like disposable pop content of the moment. This gem of a conversation with the great Steve Wozniak, which I hadn’t heard in more than three decades, is a prime example. I am so happy to share it in 2018 upon the milestone of Apple setting such astonishing records.” To listen to the interview in its entirety, please click here.

Mueller Investigation; Ohio Special Election/Primaries; Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, California Wildfire and the Environment, Trump China Tariffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Discussed Yesterday (8/8). The Robert Mueller probe; the special election in Ohio and key primaries in several states, the trial of Paul Manafort highlighted by the damaging testimony of Rick Gates; the deadly California wildfires and their possible causes; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/8), according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. “Summer Camp,” a two-day, outdoor music concert showcasing the different sounds of alternative rock, will be held this Saturday (8/11) and Sunday (8/12) at Redmond, Washington’s Marymoor Park. Entercom Seattle’s KNDD “107.7 The End” hosts the tenth annual event, which will feature – among others – AWOLNATION, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Manchester Orchestra, Robert DeLong, and Elle King. A portion of the ticket sales will go to Pearl Jam’s “Home Fund” to fight homelessness in Seattle. The “Home Fund” is part of the Vitalogy Foundation, which supports the efforts of non-profit organizations and their work in the fields of community health, the environment, arts and education, and social change ….. Changes at Cumulus Media Syracuse find CHR WNTQ “93-Q The #1 Hit Music Station” music director/afternoon drive talent Rick Roberts boosted to assistant program director/digital content manager, while production director Joey Walker takes over as “93-Q” mid-day host/digital content manager for alternative WAQX “95-X” and rock WXTL “105.9 The Rebel.” Operations manager Tom Mitchell comments, “We are pleased to promote from within. In these new roles, both Rick and Joey will apply valuable fresh perspective to market leader ’93-Q.’ Rick assumes all APD duties, along with digital content oversight/management and the afternoon-drive air shift. Joey brings talent and enthusiasm to the ’93-Q’ midday slot. Both will continue to develop new opportunities for us in the digital and social media realm.” ….. Former 12-year vice president of operations for Rubber City Radio Akron’s WQMX “94.9 Your Station – Your Country,” Sue Wilson Cordle, restarts her voiceover business with Sue Wilson Creative. She previously was Cleveland adult contemporary WDOK’s director/programming for 12 years; a programming consultant for McVay Media; and director/programming of Salem Cleveland contemporary Christian WFHM “95.5 The Fish” and co-owned Christian talk WHKW “AM 1220 The Word.” ….. In conjunction with the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), Kizart Media Partners (KMP) will present the 18th annual “Power of Urban Radio Forum” October 4th and 5th in Washington, DC. This year’s National Service awardee, Procter & Gamble chief business officer Marc Pritchard, will be the keynote speaker. KMP founder/managing director Sherman Kizart notes, “We continue the tradition of bringing together influential marketers and advertising agencies to discuss the incomparable value that the African-American market and urban radio bring as key communications elements. The event coincides with NABOB’s 42nd annual Fall Broadcast Management Conference. NABOB and PURF conference registrations are $200 for members; $400 for non-members ….. Chicago media reporter Robert Feder is first to report that, sometime next year, legendary “Windy City” programmer/on-air talent Tommy Edwards will publish his memoir, which will feature stories of Edwards’ 54-year radio career. Highlights will surely include his time working with the iconic Larry Lujack and moonlighting as public address announcer for the Chicago Bulls. Four years ago, Edwards retired from CBS Radio’s classic hits-oldies WJMK “K-Hits 104.3” (now Entercom-owned urban-rhythmic oldies WBMX “104.3 Jams”) ….. Grammy-nominated country artist Cam will serve as the first host of Slacker Radio’s “Women Crush Everyday” (#WCE Country), a channel devoted to introducing and elevating female country artists. “Women Crush Everyday” will feature commentary and playlist selections from ladies in the music industry. Slacker’s country format captain Jess Wright declares, “We have amazingly talented women making music in Nashville and they deserve to be heard. In 2017, more than 97% of the artists who appeared on the year-end country top 40 were male. This doesn’t reflect the quality of music created by women – it reflects a lack of support from the gatekeepers of country music who believe that women have limited commercial appeal. Through Slacker, we can bring the music of female country artists directly to our audience, curated by the people who are most passionate about it – the women in Nashville’s music industry.” ….. Interim general manager of Bellevue Community College-owned KBCS, Seattle – Carol Handley – is named director of music programming at Friends of 88.5 FM’s KNKX in the same market and will begin her new duties one week from next Monday (8/20). Director of content Matt Martinez notes, “Carol has proven success in building and nurturing teams and on-air talent; an entrepreneurial spirit; and a love of storytelling. With her deep roots in the Seattle music scene, I am confident she will redouble our commitment to supporting this vital and vibrant community.” Handley succeeds Nick Francis, who is retiring after 13 years in that position. In Seattle’s July 2018 Nielsen Audio PPM report, KNKX ranks #14, dropping the six-tenths it gained in June (3.0 – 3.6 – 3.0, 6+).

Rod Shares Red Roses With Dresdale. During his interview with ABC Radio‘s Andrea Dresdale (r), one of the most prolific pop star interviewers in radio, the ageless Rod Stewart (l) discussed his new album “Blood Red Roses” and his headlining tour with Cyndi Lauper.

 

 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

| August 7, 2018

Field Answers USTN Lawsuit: “Ridiculous allegations.” As we reported last Monday (Talkers.com, 7/30), in a complaint filed in Harris County, Texas District Court, United States Traffic Network is suing Entercom for material and punitive damages “in excess of $5 million.” USTN alleges that Entercom entered into negotiations to buy the company and walked away from the deal at the last minute with the intent of developing a directly competitive business. Yesterday (Monday, 8/6), Entercom president/CEO David Field addressed the lawsuit in an internal memo. He writes, “The truth is we have acted in good faith and made every reasonable effort and then some to assist USTN in fixing their challenging issues.” Entercom released a statement including the following quote on the situation: “We are relieved to no longer be mired by the difficult USTN situation that was inherited as part of the CBS Radio merger. We will move quickly to augment our strong internal sales organization to ensure that we realize the full value of this inventory. With leading news brands like WINS, New York; KNX, Los Angeles; and WBBM, Chicago, Entercom has the industry’s most valuable traffic inventory. We are pleased to be in control of our own destiny as we pursue opportunities in this attractive market segment.” In response to the lawsuit, Field states, “Entercom believes it is entirely baseless, frivolous and frankly insulting. Entercom has worked tirelessly and constructively with USTN over the past six months to help USTN work through its significant financial issues. Entercom is owed substantial amounts of money by USTN, and the company intends to defend itself vigorously and assert all of its rights.” In yesterday’s memo, Field states, “To say the least, it is disappointing to read the ridiculous allegations that USTN has made when the truth is that we have acted in good faith and made every reasonable effort and then some to assist USTN in fixing their challenging issues. In order to set the record straight and ensure that you have all the facts regarding our relationship with USTN, I have included a summary of the events over the past 8 ½ months.” Click here to read the rest of Field’s memo.

Bortnick Joins iHeartMedia D.C. as Senior VP/Sales. Six-year vice president of sales for Entercom Washington (D.C.), Danny Bortnick crosses the street to become senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s five stations in the Nation’s Capital. Region president Michael Preacher remarks, “We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Danny to iHeartMedia. Danny has earned a great reputation building client-centric sales organizations while creating a positive work culture. He is the perfect fit for us.” Bortnick adds, “I am thrilled to be joining some of the most iconic brands in [the market], as well as one of the most recognizable media brands in the country.” Bortnick, who has a marketing and management degree from the University of Miami – School of Business, began his radio career 13 years ago as an account executive at Katz Radio in New York City and Atlanta. After a year at Katz, he became an account executive – and later, digital sales manager – at New York City all-news outlet WINS and then, director of sales for Salem Media Group New York City.

Saga Reports 6.5% Q2 Net Revenue Increase. For the quarter ending June 30, Saga Communications net revenue increased to $32.2 million. Meanwhile, operating income increased 2.7% to $6 million and station operating expense increased 8% to $23.1 million. Free cash flow from continuing operations was $6 million for the quarter, compared to $4.8 million for the same period last year. On a same station basis, net revenue decreased .6% to $30.1 million; operating income increased 1.5% to $6 million; and station operating expense decreased 1% to $21.2 million. The company had $52.9 million in cash on hand as of June 30, and $53.3 million as of yesterday (8/6). The company’s total long-term debt was $25 million as of June 30. Results for the quarter and six-month period were affected by the sale of the company’s television stations and purchase of radio stations in Charleston and Hilton Head (South Carolina) on September 1, 2017. Saga’s 2018 Q2 conference call will be at 11:00 am (ET) today (Tuesday, 8/7). Saga owns or operates 75 FM and 33 AM radio stations.

Gregg Receives Salute to Excellence Award. For the second consecutive year, Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg is recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). This time, she will receive a “Salute to Excellence Award” at the NABJ’s gala in Detroit. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president and market manager David Yadgaroff states, “It comes as no surprise that Cherri has been recognized once again for the exemplary work she contributes to KYW. The hard work she has committed in less than a year demonstrates why she is deserving of this honor.” Gregg remarks, “I am honored and humbled by this great recognition. This acknowledgment validates the importance of creating conversation around social issues.” Gregg was recognized in the “Public Affairs” category in “Top 15 Markets, Radio.” The specific segment – “Police Transparency – When Should Names of Officers Who Kill Be Released?” – was from her weekly program “Flashpoint,” which airs Saturdays (9:30 pm) and Sundays (8:30 am). Launched in 2017, “Flashpoint” discusses community affairs, political news, civil rights and social issues. Last year, NABJ honored Gregg with a “Salute to Excellence Award” in “TV Investigative – Top 15 Markets” for her piece “Driving While Black,” a collaboration between Entercom and KYW-TV, Philadelphia (Channel 3). Gregg, who joined Entercom in 2010, was president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (2015 – 2016) and vice president of broadcast in 2013. A member of the Pennsylvania and Georgia Bars, she has an undergraduate degree (B.S.) from Boston University; a J.D. from Howard University School of Law; and an M.J. from Temple University’s College of Communications and Theater. Gregg was named one of the Philadelphia NAACP’s Most Influential Black Women and PABJ’s Journalist of the Year in 2013.

Remembering Bill Wattenburg. Cancer has claimed the life of 82-year-old Bill Wattenburg, who died last Thursday (8/2). For 39 years (1972 – 2011), “Dr. Bill” hosted a late night show on KGO, San Francisco where the former nuclear weapons designer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory would answer questions about everything from car repairs to physics. Show promos often referred to him as “The smartest man in the world.” The three-hour program (“Open Line to the West Coast,” 10:00 pm – 1:00 am) aired Saturday and Sunday nights and originated from his home in the Sierras. An occasional caller was Clint Eastwood, who gave Wattenburg a few cameos in the “Dirty Harry” movies. Using the nom de plume Will Harvey, the inventor and former physics professor at the University of California – Berkeley authored an early-1970s best-selling book “How to Find and Fascinate a Mistress.” The success of that book led to him being booked on numerous television talk shows where he debated the merits of feminism with people such as the Gabor sisters and Gloria Steinem. As an inventor, Wattenburg had eight patents to his credit, one reportedly being the first home alarm system using electrical wiring for its communication medium. A 2011 KGO format modification from news/talk to news resulted in several hosts – including Wattenburg – exiting the station. Shortly thereafter, Wattenburg hosted a show on Zwerling Broadcasting System news/talk KSCO-AM, Santa Cruz (California), which – after his death – aired a two-hour retrospective of his radio career.

Spanish Broadcasting System Forecasts Q2 Sales, OIBDA Increases. Preliminary estimated quarter two financial results for Spanish Broadcasting System estimates that consolidated net revenue will be between $34.5 million and $34.8 million, an increase of between 1% and 2% over the same period in 2017. Adjusted OIBDA, excluding non-cash stock-based compensation, is projected at $10.8 million – $11.6 million, an increase of 34% – 44% over last year. SBS chair/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon notes, “The company has continued its positive operational momentum throughout the second quarter with strong OIBDA growth and operating margins that continue to be among the highest in the industry.  In addition, the announced $14 million sale of our surplus real estate in New York City has successfully closed, allowing for our move to newer and more suitable facilities in midtown Manhattan. A correlated and corresponding repayment of the company’s 12.5% senior secured notes from the net proceeds of the real estate sale has been undertaken, as previously envisioned. We maintain our positive view as to the continuing momentum in 2018 and will be filing our finalized second-quarter results within the next week.”

Ten Radio Groups Support NAB’s Owner Cap Modification Stance. Represented in this particular assemblage of group owners is “a cross-section of the industry” with minority-owned and family-owned entities that have stations in large and small markets. In alphabetical order by group owner, the open letter is signed by Alpha Media CEO Bob Proffitt; Connoisseur Media founder/CEO Jeff Warshaw; Emmis Communications chair/CEO Jeff Smulyan; Midwest Communications COO Michael Wright; Mid-West Family Stations president Thomas Walker; Neuhoff Communications president/CEO Beth Neuhoff; NRG Media president/CEO Mary Quass; Perry Publishing and Broadcasting chair Russell Perry; Townsquare Media co-CEOs Dhruv Prasad and Bill Wilson; and Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri president/owner John Zimmer. Read the entire letter here.

Round One of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

TALKERS News Notes. Following stints on New Jersey outlets WMTR and WCTC, Jonathan Friedman’s “Talking Sports” (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm) debuts this Saturday (8/11) on Salem Media Group New York City’s news/talk WNYM “AM 970, The Answer.” The 52-year-old New Jersey resident notes, “I wanted to bring the show to a bigger stage. Growing up in Atlanta and being a huge fan of the Atlanta Falcons, Hawks, and Braves, my love for sports started early in my life. No matter who I talk to, the topic always seems to go to sports; that’s how I connect with people.” A 30-year advertising executive, Friedman has been with Success Communications Group the last 15 years and created the “Gotta Go To Mo’s” campaign for Modell’s Sporting Goods ….. St. Louis-based Project 21 co-chair Stacy Washington is broadcasting “Stacy on the Right” live nationwide. The first hour of the weekday talk program is available on all 180 stations of the American Family Radio Network. The national hour is 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (ET) and can be streamed through the AFR website, TuneInRadio, Facebook, and YouTube. Decorated Air Force veteran and Emmy-nominated TV personality Washington began her broadcasting career several years ago as a fill-in host on news/talk KFTK, St. Louis and began a two-hour program on the Urban Family Talk Network in 2016 ….. Having added ten million listeners over the last few months, iHeartRadio officially surpasses 120 million registered users. It has over 20,000 podcasts in 20 different unique categories, including 750 iHeartRadio original podcasts ….. According to a report by Richard Deitsch in The Athletic, former NFL quarterback (St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals) Kurt Warner will succeed Boomer Esiason as analyst on Westwood One’s “Monday Night Football” broadcasts. Hall of Famer Warner – who has filled-in when Esiason wasn’t available – would work alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan. According to Deitsch, a formal announcement of the deal is forthcoming ….. In a situation that will have him relocating to the network’s Chicago headquarters, Scott Krus – station manager of religious teaching WCRF “Moody Radio,” Cleveland – is promoted to general manager of the national Moody Radio Network. Three-month vice president, and former GM, Doug Hastings states, “Scott has the background, skills, and passion to take Moody Radio into our next season. He is very well known at Moody Radio; respected by staff and industry leaders; and has proven that he will effectively lead Moody Radio as general manager.” Krus, who begins his new duties in approximately four weeks (9/1), comments, “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our teams and [am] energized by the challenge of navigating this ever-changing landscape of media ministry. I believe that Moody is strategically-positioned to expand on its role as a leader in the industry and uniquely equipped to inspire listeners to take that next step in their walk with Jesus Christ. I am looking forward with great excitement to all that God will do in the days to come.”

Paul Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, Kushner Deleted Stories, Midterm Races, California Wildfire, MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6). The trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort highlighted by the juicy testimony of Rick Gates; claims that Jared Kushner deleted sensitive stories at his newspaper; the attempted drone assassination attempt of Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro;  this fall’s midterm elections; the deadly California wildfire; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Premiere Promotes Silcock to VP/Affiliate Relations – Morning Shows. Six-year, New York City-based director of affiliate relations Casey Silcock receives vice president stripes from Premiere Networks. In the newly-created position of vice president of affiliate relations – morning shows, Silcock will oversee affiliate sales and serve as the syndicator’s brand manager for programs featuring Elvis Duran; Bobby Bones; Brooke & JubalJohnjay & Rich; and Kane. Senior vice president of affiliate relations/talk and morning shows Peter Tripi comments, “Casey has been a valuable member of our team for the past six years, and he has made significant contributions to the growth of our industry-leading morning shows. I’m confident his leadership, sound judgment, and solid relationships with affiliate stations and talent alike will drive continued success for our programming.” Silcock previously was head of promotion for Verve Music Group, a division of Universal Music Group, and held management promotion and marketing positions at Virgin Records America.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Weekend WTXF-TV “Fox 29,” Philadelphia sports anchor Sean Brace will appear each Friday at 8:20 am on iHeartMedia Philadelphia rhythmic hot AC WISX “Real 106.1” during “Chio in the AM.” In addition, Brace will contribute to the station’s website and host a Saturday night (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) music show. He formerly was heard on cross-town Greater Media (now Beasley Media Group) sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” ….. It is an eventful day for San Antonio air-on talent named “Cortez.” Taking to Facebook, Tony Cortez announces he is leaving his position as assistant program director/afternoon drive talent at Alpha Media’s  CHR KTFM “Energy 94.1,” while “The Dana Cortez Show” was missing this morning at cross-town Univision Radio-owned rhythmic CHR KBBT “98.5 The Beat.” On Twitter, Dana Cortez tweets, “We have some exciting things in the works & want you to be part of.” ….. Promotions coordinator/night personality Edwin Guevara is elevated to promotions director/afternoon host at Townsquare Media Trenton, New Jersey CHR WPST “94.5 – Your New #1 Hit Music Station.” He replaces Tom Shinn, who exited last month. Guevara is approaching his third year at the station, arriving from Kemp Broadcasting Las Vegas rhythmic CHR KVEG “Hot 97.5” ….. Former Bonneville country KYGO, Denver program director Eddie Haskell is named senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Fort Collins (Colorado) stations. According to iHeartMedia Denver area president Amy Griesheimer, “I am thrilled to have someone of Eddie’s caliber and expertise partner with us to lead [our] Northern Colorado dynasty. Eddie’s passion and brand knowledge are unmatched.” Denver region senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim notes, “Eddie’s knowledge and experience in Colorado radio are second to none. His addition to the Fort Collins team will only help to increase our already strong footprint in Northern Colorado.” Haskell adds, “I am so stoked to join the team at iHeartMedia Fort Collins. We have great brands, great programmers, and a great management team.” His prior background includes being operations manager for Cumulus Media Albuquerque and he has held various programming roles in Detroit (WYCD) and Salt Lake City (KKAT-AM). The iHM cluster in Fort Collins includes country KXBG “Big 97.9”; classic hits-oldies KXBG-HD2 “B-107.3”; classic country KIIX “AM 1410 – Country’s Greatest Hits”; CHR KSME “96.1 – Kiss-FM”; classic rock KPAW “92.9 – The Bear”; alternative KPAW-HD2 “Radio 94.9”; and news/talk KCOL “Fox News Radio 600” ….. Grammy winner – and the first “American Idol” – Kelly Clarkson is filming a pilot for a daytime (TV) talk show.  Clarkson has a deal with NBC Entertainment, but the pilot is currently not attached to any network; it is potentially being shopped for a fall 2019 debut.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

| June 27, 2018

Marske Named PD at WOC, Quad Cities.  Moline native Kirk Marske is named program director for iHeartMedia’s Quad Cities news/talk WOC.  Marske has served with the cluster for 17 years, producing programs on WOC, classic rock WCQQ “Q106.5” and CHR KUUL “101.3 Kiss FM.” In this position, Marske will program WOC and be part of the “AM Quad Cities” morning show hosted by Dave Levora with contributions from Dan Deibert.  Marske takes over for Dan Kennedy, who retired from the station in May after 20 years there.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming Jim O’Hara says, “Kirk is just the guy to program WOC.  Born and raised in Moline – and with more local connections than anyone – he has a real passion for news/talk radio.”

Beasley Media Group Files with SEC Announcing Sale of Up to $250 million in Stock. In an S-3 filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Beasley Media Group announces its intent to offer securities for sale on the Nasdaq Global Market using a “shelf” registration process that allows the company to “sell securities from time to time and in one or more offerings up to a total dollar amount of $250,000,000 …”  This is Class A common stock has one vote per share.  Class B common stock is owned only by the Beasley family and enjoys 10 votes per share.  What would Beasley use the influx of cash for?  Acquisition of more radio stations is the popular bet.  Although iHeartMedia – currently in Chapter 11 reorganization – has said it’s not in sale mode, the company has been willing to deal in recent years.  And then there’s the Scripps stations currently on the block.  Stay tuned.

Doug Hall Named Digitial PD for iHM San Francisco. There are just two spoken-word stations in iHeartMedia’s San Francisco cluster – progressive talker KKSF “Real Talk 910AM” and KNEW-AM “Bloomberg Radio” – but the company says that its San Francisco cluster has “been an innovator in podcast content creation, generating 30 podcasts locally with nearly 100 episodes each week published.” It will be part of new digital program director Doug Hall’s charge as he moves from iHeartMedia Miami to the Bay Area for his gig. iHeartMedia San Francisco SVP of programming Don Parker says, “After an extensive search inside and outside of the industry, Doug stood out as the clear choice to lead our digital and social efforts in the Bay Area.  With Doug’s knowledge of our goals and priorities along with his sense of urgency and enthusiasm, I’m confident he will grow iHeartMedia San Francisco.”  Hall takes over for Matty Staudt, who was recently elevated to vice president of podcast programming at iHeartMedia.

TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post:  Fireside Chat Between Michael Harrison and Brian Kilmeade.  Today (6/27) TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8.  Each day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place.  Today’s third installment features the Fireside Chat between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity.  Yesterday’s post presents opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan.  In addition, KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivers the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduces Bearman.   Already posted this week: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter.  To view the page, please click here.

Going for the Gold.  The fourth annual fundraising dinner for the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation took place last night (6/27) at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  The sold-out event featured FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel personality and best-selling author Brian Kilmeade as keynote speaker, with TALKERS founder Michael Harrison warming up the crowd with special remarks.  Kilmeade delivered an inspirational speech discussing the ups and downs of his career as well as a number of others making the point that facing the challenges that life throws at you head on while remaining humble and grateful is one of the keys to achieving and maintaining success.  Harrison discussed the importance of education in preparing future generations of broadcasters to live up to the responsibility of preserving the First Amendment and the vibrant free marketplace of ideas in the rapidly evolving digital era.  The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation is a dynamic non-profit working to raise funds to support the education of young broadcasters.  It has been instrumental in helping develop the outstanding program offered at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, including the building of the school’s award-winning radio station WRFH.  Pictured at the event (l-r):  Harrison, Kilmeade and Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation president Vince Benedetto.  Benedetto is also the CEO of the Bold Gold Media Group, with a growing roster of news/talk, sports talk and music radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York.

Report: Colin Cowherd Renews Deal with iHeartMedia and FOX Sports. According to Andrew Marchand’s column in the New York Post, sports media personality Colin Cowherd has inked a renewal deal with iHeartMedia and FOX Sports that will pay him in the neighborhood of $6 million per year. Marchand’s piece reports that Cowherd’s three-hour radio show will continue (and remain simulcast on TVs’ FOX Sports 1), but he will exit the “Speak for Yourself” television program co-hosted by Jason Whitlock. Cowherd is expected to continue hosting the “FOX NFL Kickoff” TV show that returns in September.

iHeartMedia and Anna Faris Strike Deal for Expansion of ‘Unqualified’ Programming. Actress and podcaster Anna Faris – who produces her “Anna Faris Is Unqualified” podcast via her Unqualified Media production company – is partnering with iHeartMedia to bring her show to CHR broadcast radio and the iHeartRadio Podcast Network.  “Unqualified” features interviews with celebrities and cultural figures who tackle a variety of topics such as dating and relationships, in addition to taking phone calls from listeners seeking relationship advice.  Faris created the podcast with her longtime friend and co-host Sim Sarna, who produces the show and runs the production company.  The deal will have Unqualified Media produce a long-form “Anna Faris Is Unqualified” radio program that will air weekends across CHR broadcast radio stations nationwide.  In addition, iHeartMedia will create short-form content that will air weekdays promoting “Anna Faris Is Unqualified” nationwide.

TALKERS News Notes. On Monday, news/talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga released a statement regarding the status of morning drive personality Jeff Styles, who was arrested on June 15 after a road rage incident left Styles with a gunshot wound to the arm and the other party with damage to his car left by Styles’ weapon – a military-grade tomahawk.   Cumulus Media has placed Styles on paid leave while the incident is investigated. Meanwhile the station says, “Gary Mac has filled in for Styles in the past and did so last week and he will continue to do so.  He has other obligations, however, for the next two weeks and afternoon host Brian Joyce will be hosting ‘The Morning Press’ along with Jim Reynolds.”…..Talk show host Tom Donahue is returning to the radio airwaves on July 1 as he launches a weekly, Sunday evening program available via Talk Stream Live and distributed to radio stations by Salem Radio Network.  The program will air live at 11:00 pm ET. Donahue says, “I am thrilled to have this broadcast opportunity that has eluded me for some time.  I will independently syndicate my show distributed by SRN and TSL, thus allowing me to reach a broader audience with satellite access and delivery to so many radio stations and markets. To be an impactful player in talk radio, your game plan must include broadcast stations. In recent years, my program has been confined mostly to online streaming, digital, and podcasting platforms, with the exception of a few independent stations.  I plan to make the most of my airtime each week!  I will be open to show expansion based on demand.”…..Boston morning show duo Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb, a.k.a. “Toucher & Rich,” were honored by readers of Boston Magazine with the “Radio Personalities of the Year” award in the 2018 Best of Boston poll.  Toucher & Rich anchor mornings on Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase comments, “We are so proud to have Toucher & Rich on our team in Boston.  They are so amazing at all of the things that we truly value at Beasley – community and top quality local content.  I’m thrilled that Boston Magazine recognized them!”…..Two sale closings to report that involve Salem Media Group.  First, the International Church of the Grace of God closes on the $1.73 million acquisition of WBIX, Boston from Salem. Since Salem bought the signal in 2015 it had been airing its syndicated conservative talk programming on the station with not a lot of success.  Second, Salem closes on its purchase of KDXE-FM, Cammack Village, Arkansas from Flinn Broadcasting for $1.1 million.  The station serves the Little Rock market and Salem airs much of its Salem Radio Network conservative talk programming on the station branded “101.1 FM The Answer.”…..Cumulus Media appoints radio management pro Chuck Poet vice president and market manager for its Erie, Pennsylvania cluster that includes four music outlets and sports talk WRIE-AM/W242CU.

Illegal Immigration Policy, SCOTUS Travel Ban Ruling, Harassment of Administration Officials, Tuesday Primaries, Germany’s Migrant Issues, Tariffs-Trade War Concerns, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26).  The U.S.’s policies in enforcing immigration laws; the Supreme Court upholds President Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. from predominantly Muslim countries; the aftermath of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters’ call to harass administration officials when they appear in public; Tuesday’s primary races and the ouster of New York Democrat Joe Crowley at the hands of Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Germany’s Angela Merkel deals with political pressure to reverse policy welcoming migrants; the Trump tariffs and concerns about a trade war; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

JAM Media Buys Outer Banks, NC and Iowa Radio Clusters.  Originally founded as a media planning and buying agency, JAM Media Solutions, LLC is entering the radio station ownership business with the acquisition of two clusters of stations – one in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and one in Muscatine, Iowa.  JAM has entered into an agreement to acquire Max Radio’s four music-formatted radio stations in the Outer Banks region, as well as the company’s interest in North Carolina E Paper, LLC, publisher of The Outer Banks Voice.  The radio stations are: country WCMS-FM, hot AC WCXL-FM, triple A WVOD-FM, and classic rock WZPR-FM.  The price tag for those properties is $1.85 million.  In Muscatine, Iowa, JAM enters into an agreement to buy Prairie Communications’ classic rock KMCS-FM and farm news KWPC-AM/K236CF, plus newspaper The Voice of Muscatine for $965,000.  JAM Media Solutions president and CEO Jonathan. A. Mason Sr. says “Having worked in radio since 1995, let me state for the record that I believe in the power of local radio.  Our goal is to unite local on-air personalities, local salespeople, and local advertisers together in an effort to deliver a first-rate experience for our local listeners.  JAM Media Solutions will also be very committed to the local communities in which we exist.  A portion of our income will be donated to non-profits dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the people our stations touch.  We are thankful for this opportunity and look forward to making the concerns of the listeners our top priority.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air staff tweaks at Entercom Las Vegas include the addition of Audrey Lee to CHR KLUC as midday personality, effective July 2.  Also, music director and on-air host Yung Jon Que will host KLUC’s afternoon drive from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, effective immediately.  This role is in addition to his current position as assistant program director and music director for KLUC-HD2.  Finally, Hector ‘DJ CO1’ Minjarez has been elevated to the role of APD at sister urban contemporary KXQQ “Q100.5” in addition to his role as evening personality.  Lee was most recently with iHeartMedia’s Lexington, Kentucky cluster…..The North American syndicated rock radio show and website “IN THE STUDIO with Redbeard: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands” celebrates its 30th year of national radio syndication.  “IN THE STUDIO” first launched the broadcast week of June 27, 1988 with rock legends Crosby, Stills & Nash as inaugural guests and program host Redbeard.  He says, “When original ‘IN THE STUDIO’ executive producer Stephen R. Smith conceived 30 years ago of bringing the superstars of rock to radio every single week through one-on-one interviews about the stars’ most popular music, he was keenly aware that the rock audience had matured.  Now, the audience wanted an intimate, direct relationship with the musicians who actually created the soundtrack to their lives, lifting the curtain on the ‘wizards of rock.’  Over that time, the innate desire of the fans to get closer to the flame of inspiration has only intensified.”  The hourlong, weekly show is heard on 35 affiliate stations nationwide.

Monday, May 14, 2018

| May 14, 2018

TALKERS Magazine’s 2018 Heavy Hundred to Be Published Next Monday.  On May 21, TALKERS magazine will post the 2018 edition of “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – known informally as the Heavy Hundred.  This 24thedition of the Heavy Hundred is from the editors of TALKERS magazine who base their ranking of the hosts on a number of hard and soft factors, including: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness.  TALKERS VP and executive editor Kevin Casey says, “As in previous years, talk hosts must be working a regularly scheduled show on at least one terrestrial station or on satellite radio at the time the list is published in order to be considered. Our editorial staff works very hard to consider all of the numerous personalities who qualify, and then whittle it down to just 100… a difficult task.  This list is admittedly subjective to one degree or another but we at TALKERS take the task very seriously.  We look forward to revealing the 2018 Heavy Hundred next Monday.”

‘Our American Stories’ Joins KABC, Los Angeles Lineup. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program is being added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles, “Talk Radio 790” in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.  Program host Lee Habeeb says the program is “a show about the events and people that made America great, and will keep her great.”  Topics range from sports to history to art and “stories about the remarkable things Americans do every day to make the country hum.”  Habeeb adds, “Every day, all we hear in the media is what’s wrong with America and what divides us.  So, we thought it would be a good idea to remind people about what unites us, what makes us all proud to call America home.  This is an amazing country and we keep things focused on the positive stories that are all around us.”  Program affiliate rep Bryan Dawson adds, “Our affiliates have sung the praises of the show, and the production quality.  Once the GMs and PDs hear the quality of the show, it practically sells itself, and we’ve gotten to 120-plus affiliates fast because the listeners have been longing for a show like this, with these kinds of production values and writing – and a show that makes them feel good about the country they live in.”

Michael Coover Appointed Executive Producer for ‘Orange & Blue 760’ in Denver. The Denver Broncos-focused sports talk station KDSP, Denver “Orange & Blue 760” announces that  Michael Coover is named executive producer for the station.  Coover’s duties include producing multiple dayparts, handling the station’s digital footprint and elevating ‘Orange & Blue 760’ as the station enters its second year.  He reports to KDSP and KHOW program director Tim Spence, who comments, “Michael’s knowledge of Denver and its competitive ratings battles, his experience on a national level and his overall relationship with players and coaches makes him an ideal candidate for ‘Orange & Blue 760.’”  Coover served FOX Sports Radio for 15 years.  He was executive producer at KKFN, Denver and, most recently, was executive talent booker for Envision Networks.

Bishop & Laurinaitis Show Debuts on ‘The Fan’ in Columbus. Sports talk outlet WBNS-FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” replaces the Tim Hall and Beanie Wells late morning program with a new show co-hosted by sports talk pro Beau Bishop and former Ohio State and NFL linebacker James Laurinaitis.  The RadiOhio-owned station is plugging the duo into the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot, effective today (5/14).  Bishop had been serving with Entercom’s Cleveland sports talk outlet WKRK-FM “92.3 The Fan.”  Laurinaitis has been working as an analyst on the Big Ten Network.

Salem Radio Star and Media Icon Joe Piscopo to Be Special Luncheon Speaker at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! – The organizers of TALKERS magazine’s 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! set for Friday, June 8 in New York City – are pleased to announce that WNYM, New York “970 AM The Answer” morning host and longtime media icon Joe Piscopo will be delivering a special luncheon address at the gathering.  Piscopo gained national recognition for his comedic work as an early regular on Saturday Night Live, as well as starring in a number of motion pictures during his illustrious career.  The lunch, sponsored for the second consecutive year by the Salem Media Group, is just one of a non-stop series of keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, networking socials and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to on-air and online broadcasting professionals that make up the agenda of the sold-out gathering.  The power-packed program will feature more than 65 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology, as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations.  See the list of speakers and up-to-the-minute agenda as well as last-minute sponsorship and hotel information by clicking here. The conference takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the colorful Chelsea District of Manhattan.

National Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2018 Nominees.  Today begins the voting process for the 2018 class of inductees into the National Radio Hall of Fame.  The 24 nominations in six categories were determined by the organization’s nominating committee. Four of those categories will be voted on by a voting participant panel comprised of nearly 1,000 industry professionals.  The other two categories will be voted on by the public.  Public voting commences June 4 for eight nominations for Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality.  This year’s nominees in the publicly voted Spoken Word On-Air Personality category are: Westwood One’s Mark Levin, SiriusXM’s Joe Madison, Premiere NetworksGeorge Noory, and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome.  National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “I personally appreciate the challenging task that our Nominating Committee accepts each year to officially nominate talent from an infinite list of deserving individuals.  Congratulations to this year’s nominees, an excellent selection of our industry’s finest.”  Inductees will be announced June 25.  See all the nominees here.

TALKERS News Notes. A Memorial Day weekend radio special that looks at the tumultuous year of 1968 is being offered to Westwood One News affiliate stations.  “1968: The Year That Shook America” is hosted by Westwood One News correspondent Michael Toscano.  Westwood One says that Toscano takes listeners back the year when “conflict and confusion reigned across America. The Vietnam War raged at full throttle. The assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy stunned the nation. Inner city riots erupted. Young people were making their voices heard in protest on college campuses. New leaders emerged and the culture changed forever.”  The program replaces “The Week in Review” during Memorial Day weekend, May 26-27.  Pictured here is Toscano (right) interviewing Pat Buchanan (left) about his work on Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign with the president-elect…..A deal between NPR and Spotify is allowing Spotify users to have access to NPR’s podcast catalogue.  Spotify global head of podcast partnerships Dossie McGraw says, “For both Spotify and NPR, joining forces just makes sense and we’re delighted to bring NPR podcasts to Spotify users.  Podcasts are gifts you give yourself in moments of the day when you want to catch up on the news or hear thoughtful commentary on issues affecting us all or just have some fun with a game show like ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!’”…..SiriusXM Satellite Radio begins its first-ever free preview to non-subscribers in an effort to promote its newly re-designed app for iOS and Android.    Today through May 29, anyone with an inactive satellite radio, or who has an internet connected mobile device and/or web access can sample SiriusXM’s content without any registration requirements.  The deal includes access to all music and talk channels, including Howard Stern’s channels.

U.S. Exits Iran Nuclear Deal, Trump’s ZTE Statement, Indonesia Church Bombings, Haspel Nomination, John McCain Health, U.S.’s Israel Embassy Move, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The response to President Trump’s withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal; reaction to President Trump’s desire to “save” Chinese tech firm ZTE; the weekend bombings of three Christian churches in Indonesia; the confirmation hearings of CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel; the health status of Senator John McCain and the flap over a reported comment by a Trump staffer that McCain’s opinions don’t matter because “he’ll be dead soon”; the deadly protests over the re-location of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA playoffs 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. Last Thursday evening, Charlie Puth (left) took over the stage at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York to perform songs from his new album, Voicenotes, at the iHeartRadio Album Release Party.  In addition to Puth performing tunes from his new record, the event included a Q&A with iHeartRadio on-air personality Maxwell (right).  (Photo: Rachel Kaplan for iHeartMedia)…..Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX, Detroit, along with the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Ann Arbor School Board, are teaming up to have a street named in honor of Detroit rock legend Bob Seger in front of his Alma Mater in Ann Arbor.  WCSX morning personality Jim O’ Brien worked with the City of Ann Arbor and the Ann Arbor School Board to find a stretch of boulevard on the grounds of Pioneer High School (formerly known as Ann Arbor High back then and Seger’s Alma Mater) on the corner of Main Street.  Big Jim is quoted saying, “Bob Seger is part of my life. The first song at my wedding reception was ‘Real Love’ by Seger and my favorite road trip song ever is ‘Roll Me Away.’  Bob Seger is everything good about Detroit… hard working, passionate and genuine. When we found this stretch of road in Ann Arbor at his high school, it just made sense to make Bob Seger Boulevard a reality.  And it’s connected to Main Street!”

Thursday, May 10, 2018

| May 10, 2018

Emmis Communications Fiscal Q4 Report: Pro Forma Net Revenue Down 1%. Because of the recent sales of its Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Terre Haute stations, the Emmis Communications fourth fiscal quarter report can be viewed two ways.  Fourth fiscal quarter revenue was $28.4 million – down 16%.  But, pro forma for the sale of Emmis’ Los Angeles and Terre Haute radio stations, revenue as reported to Miller Kaplan (which excludes barter revenue and syndication revenue) was down 1% in markets that were down 3%.  The company says the New York and St. Louis clusters both grew their revenue in the quarter and outperformed their markets.  Looking at the whole fiscal year (ended February 28, 2018), radio revenue was $142.9 million compared to $165.1 million in the prior year – a decrease of 13%.  For the full year, Emmis’ pro forma radio revenue was down 2%.  The report notes that on April 30, the company finalized the sale of its St. Louis radio stations, and after applying the net proceeds therefrom, has less than $20 million of net credit facility debt outstanding.  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “In the last 12 months, we have paid down over $120 million of senior debt, leaving us on firm financial footing and providing flexibility as opportunities present themselves.  Ratings for our New York radio stations remain strong and they are rebounding nicely in Indianapolis.  The NextRadio team has done a tremendous job rolling out Dial Report, an industry-wide data attribution platform, and we believe it is uniquely positioned to meet the growing demand for robust analytics and insights into the behaviors of radio listeners.”

Liberty Media Group Still Interested in iHeartMedia.  “At the right price” is the phrase Liberty Media Group president and CEO Greg Maffei used during yesterday’s investors conference call.  Maffei noted that Liberty owns “about $660 million” of iHeartMedia bonds.  Regarding Liberty’s interest in iHeartMedia, Maffei adds, “I think the process is evolving as they go through their Chapter 11 proceedings.  Creditors are gaining an understanding of what they are proposing to buy.  I think at some point they are going to re-engage with us, and if the price is attractive, as I said, we would be interested.  And the rationale for that is there are both – I think some opportunities around radio.  They’re still having interest toward radio and are so interested in some of the assets that we have, including serious investment in Pandora.  I think there are both synergies on the revenue side and on the cost side potentially.  And iHeart is an attractive free cash-flow generator.  The wide pricing in combination with that is those are the factors and it will be additive to our music holdings.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Members can read it all here.

Schulman Named CMO at Katz Media Group. Media executive Stacey Lynn Schulman is promoted to chief marketing officer for Katz Media Group.  The company says that in this new role, “Schulman will lead a team of marketing and insight professionals across both Katz Radio Group and Katz Television Group, driving overall marketing strategy and insights for Katz’s 14 regional offices that together serve as the trusted sales partner to more than 3,300 radio stations, 800 television stations and their digital platforms.”  The company says Schulman joined it in 2014 as EVP of strategy, analytics and research.  “She quadrupled Katz’s proprietary research efforts on behalf of clients.  Schulman also introduced new marketplace tools to showcase the power of local media, including Katz’s DJ Personality Index, which helps marketers easily identify on-air personalities who already engage with their brands, and The Local Vote project, which provides political marketers with a media compass based on recent voter sentiment in local markets. Her efforts have been instrumental in bringing additional revenue into the radio sector and expanding the target-ability of local broadcast television.”

TALKERS News Notes. A piece published at CNNMoney that states Salem Media Group execs have pressured their talk show hosts to be supportive of President Trump is getting a lot of attention.  Featured in the story is former KRLA, Los Angeles morning personality Elisha Krauss, who tells writers Hadas Gold and Oliver Darcy that although she understands Salem can hire or fire any talent it wants, “They shouldn’t do it with the facade that they’re delivering multi-level opinions and they’re not puppeteering those opinions.” Krauss currently works with Ben Shapiro on his podcast programs.  The two worked together on KRLA’s “The Morning Answer.” Currently, “The Morning Answer” is co-hosted by anti-Trumper Brian Whitman and pro-Trumper Jennifer Horn.  Read the piece here…..As election season gears up, the Larry Young morning program on Radio One’s WOLB, Baltimore will participate in presenting public forums featuring candidates for office.  The station will present a gubernatorial forum on Tuesday, June 5 and a state’s attorney forum on Wednesday, June 13 as part of the Larry Young morning program.

U.S. Exits Iran Nukes Deal, Israel Strikes Syria, North Korean Prisoners Released/Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, Haspel Confirmation Hearings, Stormy Daniels Case/Cohen Russian Money Allegations, Hawaiian Volcano Watch, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9). The reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement; Israel’s strikes on Iranian targets inside of Syria; three American prisoners held in North Korea are released and the related planned meeting between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and President Trump; the confirmation hearings for CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel; the Stormy Daniels payoff case and allegations Trump attorney Michael Cohen received money from a Russian oligarch after the 2016 election; Hawaii’s oozing volcano and fears it may transform into a full blown eruption; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The evening program on iHeartMedia’s CHR WIHT, Washington “HOT 99.5” is getting a new voice as Emily Sklar takes over the daypart on Monday (5/14).  She comes to DC from her most recent gig as midday jock on the company’s CHR WKQI, Detroit “Channel 955.”…..Cumulus Media names radio personality Nikki Blades co-host of “The Morning Block Party” on rhythmic CHR KWIN, Stockton-Modesto.  Blades has been hosting the midday program since January.  Blades began her career as a professional model and was featured in Maxim magazine and earlier this year, appeared on MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out with Nick Cannon.”  Station program director Daniel “Jiggy” Diaz says “We are very excited for today.  It’s not very often you find someone who fits the mold of the brand so well and is also destined for greatness.  Nikki Blades is by far the next big talent on the West Coast and I’m so excited for her to take the next step here at KWIN!”…..Entercom appoints Sean “Sonic” Leckie host of the afternoon drive show on WBMX, Chicago “104.3 Jams.”  Entercom Chicago SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “Sonic brings a passion for music and drive to succeed to ‘104.3 Jams.’  We’re looking forward to having him take the helm of Chicago’s new afternoon drive show.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Josh “Bru” Brubaker to the local anchor position for “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” on WDRQ, Detroit “NASH FM 93.1.”  He joined WDRQ in 2017 as a weekend/swing talent and was elevated to production assistant shortly thereafter…..ACM-award winner and platinum-selling singer/songwriter Jake Owen is hosting Westwood One’s Annual “Summer Kick Off” Memorial Day special.  The four-hour program features music from Jake and his friends, including Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Kelsea Ballerini, Zac Brown Band, and more. The show will also remember the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

| May 9, 2018

Salem Media Group’s 2018 Q1 Broadcast Revenue Flat. The company as a whole saw total revenue of $63.8 million – a decrease of 1.8% compared to the same period in 2017.  The broadcast division’s net revenue was $48.1 million, an increase of 0.5%.  Station Operating Income increased 2.8% to $12.3 million from $12 million.  Salem Media Group’s digital media division was down 2.7% and the publishing segment was off 17.6%.  Revealed in the company’s 8-K filing is that it is swapping KKOL, Seattle for KPAM, Portland.  Salem has been operating KPAM as conservative news/talk “860 The Answer” under a time brokerage agreement.  It expects the deal with Intelli LLC to close in June.

Iran Nuclear Deal, Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case, Cohen-Russian Oligarch Allegations, W. VA GOP Primary, Haspel Confirmation Hearings, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/8).  Reaction to President Trump’s decision to take the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the case of the payoff made to Stormy Daniels; new allegations that Trump attorney Michael Cohen accepted money from a Russian oligarch after the election; former coal baron Don Blankenship loses W. VA GOP primary; the confirmation hearings for CIA chief nominee Gina Haspel; Major League Baseball action, and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio executive Richard Marks is named chief operating officer for United States Traffic Network.  The company says that in this role, Marks will work directly with chairman and CEO Ivan Shulman“in rebuilding the brand and creating action plans that deliver rapid growth, as well as improve overall performance and increase revenue.”  Marks has previously served with Westwood One, Shadow Broadcast Services/Metro Networks, and as COO of Focus 360.  He launched his own consulting firm in 2008 and advised a wide range of broadcast media and content companies until April 2013.  He says, “I look forward to leveraging my expertise working with a wide range of broadcast media companies to help USTN and will work to make smart, strategic moves for the company to ensure a steady foundation that will allow for scalable growth well into the future.”…..FOX News Radio is preparing a one-hour special for air during Memorial Day weekend looking at the summer movie scene.  The program is being hosted by FOX entertainment correspondent Michelle Pollino and, according to FNR, offers a glimpse into the season’s “must-see’s, the oughta-see’s, and the must-avoids.”  It’ll be ready for downloads for affiliate stations by May 21…..Pictured below are the judges of this season of ABC-TV’s “American Idol” – (left to right) Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan – on the set of the show with ABC Radio entertainment correspondent Jason Nathanson.

WPHT, WIP and KYW, Philadelphia Nab Five ‘Excellence in Broadcasting’ Awards. Three of Entercom’s Philadelphia spoken-word stations were honored by the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters with “Excellence in Broadcasting” awards at the organization’s May 7 luncheon. News/talk WPHT, all-news KYW and sports talk WIP-FM were recognized with top honors.  “Sounds of Sinatra” host Sid Mark was honored as the PAB 2018 Radio Broadcaster of the Year.  KYW Newsradio took home the Outstanding Radio Promotional Announcement and Contest award for its Traffic Center’s “Traffic Tip Tuesday” promotion and the PAB Judges’ Merit Award for its “Breakfast Briefing” segment.  SportsRadio 94WIP was presented with the PAB Award for Outstanding Radio Coverage for its broadcast of the Philadelphia Eagles versus the New York Giants.  Pictured above are (from l-r): KYW’s Steve Butler, Cathy Caldwell and Sam Clover, WIP’s Spike Eskin, Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff, WPHT’s Jared Hart, and KYW’s Tom Rickert.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Minneapolis country outlet KMNB “BUZ’N @ 102.9” promoted Lucas Phelan to program director for the Entercom-owned station.  Phelan has been hosting afternoon drive – and he’ll continue that on-air role – and serving as APD.  Entercom Minneapolis SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke comments, “We’re proud to promote and develop talent at Entercom Minneapolis.  As the former assistant program director of KMNB and as on-air host, Lucas has a great understanding of our market and a deep connection to our community.  He has truly earned this leadership role and we look forward to the brand’s continued growth.”…..Entercom Phoenix names Shannon Beaver  producer for CHR KALV LIVE 101.5’s “The Morning Mess.”  She says, “I’m honored to be a part of the Entercom family and beyond excited to join ‘The Morning Mess.’  I’ve listened to the show for years and always enjoyed their banter and vibe.  Now, I get to work daily with a show that truly feels like a family. This is a very exciting chapter.”…..The New York State Broadcasters Association – as well as most other radio broadcasters – is cheering the introduction of the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act (PIRATE Act) that’s been introduced to the U.S. House by Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ).  NYSBA president David Donovan says, “For too long the citizens of New York have endured the harm caused by illegal pirate radio stations.  These stations: 1) interfere with the Emergency Alert System (EAS); 2) interfere with FAA and airport communications; 3) emit levels of RF radiation into local neighborhoods that are above government standards; 3) ignore all consumer protection laws and 4) blatantly transgress all FCC rules and regulations. We strongly support the PIRATE Act.  We want to thank Congressman Paul Tonko and Congressman Leonard Lance for introducing this bipartisan legislation.”…..Pictured below is Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler at the NASH Campus in Nashville.  He stopped by to chat with syndicated morning show hosts Ty, Kelly and Chuck about the May 15 release of a brand-new documentary called “Out on a Limb,” that documents Tyler’s everyday life.  He also brought along his band, The Loving Mary Band, to talk about their tour and much more.

Friday, May 4, 2018

| May 4, 2018

KNX, Los Angeles Celebrates 50 Years as All-News Station. Los Angeles all-news KNX “1070 News Radio” is celebrating its 50thanniversary as a news outlet.  In a press release, Entercom states that “more than 1.5 million people tune in to KNX 1070 News Radio every week for its comprehensive coverage of local, national and international news in addition to its trademark traffic and weather updates every 10 minutes on the 5s.  Traffic and news content is provided daily by the area’s largest team of dedicated professionals.”  KNX Director of programming Ken Charles says, “Since 1968 we have seen nine presidents, six governors, and six mayors.  Through it all, KNX has been that one consistent source for integrity, trust, and credibility.”  Pictured above receiving an official proclamation from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (center) are (from l-r) KNX anchors Frank Mottek, Julie Chi, Charles, Charles Feldman and Dick Helton.

Jamie Allman Begins Streaming Show on Monday.  St. Louis talk show host Jamie Allman is launching a new, daily morning drive talk show on Monday (5/7) called “Radio Free Allman” that he’s streaming via his website.  His site says, “They tried to silence the Allman voice but he is back!  We are so excited to announce that the ‘Radio Free Allman’ show will officially launch May 7th, 2018 from 6am-9am.  ‘Radio Free Allman’ isn’t bound by a radio dial, it’s digital radio available on ANY cell phone, desktop, or laptop in the WORLD!” Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Allman is suing Entercom and Emmis over his dismissal from KFTK-FM last month.

Cumulus and Entercom Settle $11.6 Million Claim.  This settlement is the result of an agreement between Cumulus and Entercom over numerous contracts between Cumulus’ Westwood One and CBS RADIO that Entercom inherited with its acquisition of CBS.  Cumulus is agreeing to cut a check to Entercom for $11.6 million to settle this pre-petition claim.

TALKERS News Notes. In San Antonio, Rob Thompson is the new program director of Alpha Media’s sports talk KZDC-AM/K233DB “ESPN San Antonio.” Thompson is the afternoon drive co-host of “The Blitz with Jason and Rob” with Jason Minnix…..Next Friday (5/11), KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101.1” talk show host Lars Larson is moderating a live GOP Oregon primary gubernatorial debate with the three front-running Republican candidates for Oregon governor: Knute Buehler, Sam Carpenter and Greg Wooldridge.  The debate will take place in the Bloodworks Live Studio in downtown Portland from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and be live on the Lars Larson show. It’ll also be heard on the 24 affiliate stations of the Radio Northwest Network…..Salem Media Group welcomes Carolyn Cassidy back to the company as general manager for its Columbus operations that include news/talk WTOH “98.9 The Answer” and two sister religious outlets. Cassidy was general manager for Salem’s Denver stations prior to her joining the Denver cluster of Wilks Broadcasting…..Entercom announces that it is acquiring the rights to University of Oregon sports play-by-play after inking a four-year deal with the school.  Games and related programming will air on sports talk KFXX, Portland “1080 The Fan” and will include football, basketball and baseball.  Alpha Media’s crosstown KXTG-AM “102.9/750 The Game” holds the rights through the end of the baseball season…..Today is day two of the 20th annual Cares for Kids Radiothon on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WGY-AM/FM, Albany and sister hot AC WRVE “99.5 The River.” Proceeds from the two-day radiothon broadcast from Albany Medical Center will benefit the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center…..Entercom makes a call letter change for new sports talker “97.3 The Fan” in San Diego.  The former CHR station drops KEGY-FM for KWFN-FM.

The Trump-Russia Investigation Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 30-May 4.  The investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Trump’s stance on the Iran nuclear deal.  Coming in at #3 was the Stormy Daniels case, followed by U.S.-Mexico border security and the related caravan asylum seekers at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Christine Hassler Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Best-selling author, keynote speaker, master coach, podcaster and TV host Christine Hassler is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” A world-renowned evangelist for the nascent field of “Spiritual Psychology,” Hassler is the co-host and relationship expert on TLC’s “The Spouse House,” in addition to hosting a weekly podcast titled, “Over It & On With It.” Harrison and Hassler engage in a deep-dive conversation about the intersection between mind and soul, including social media addiction, the characteristics of Millennials, and dealing with life’s major disappointments. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box for “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Hip hop is back on the 93.3 FM frequency in Seattle as iHeartMedia flips CHR KPWK and returns the KUBE calls to the station.  The company is keeping Carla Marie & Anthony in the morning drive slot and the rest of the jock schedule includes Shay, Eric Rosado, and Bootleg Kev.  It is playing 14,000 commercial-free songs in a row.  iHM region president Robert Dove says, “An iconic brand has been missing in Seattle radio.  KUBE is a name that’s been part of Seattle’s music consciousness and lifestyle for over 20 years.  Listeners have spoken how they’ve missed KUBE.  Well Seattle, KUBE is back!”…..Programming pro Smokey Rivers joins Entercom to serve as program director for the company’s adult contemporary KSWD, Seattle “94.1 The Sound.”  Rivers has been serving as director of operations and PD at Scripps’ AC KMXZ, Tucson.  Entercom Seattle SVP and market manager Jack Hutchison says, “Smokey joins ‘The Sound’ at a great time as we are already experiencing phenomenal growth with the station.  Our on-air hosts John Fisher and Delilah are just getting started.  We are thrilled and excited Smokey will be joining our talented team of program directors here in Seattle.”  Prior to joining Scripps, Rivers served as VP of programming for iHeartMedia Phoenix and, before that, as VP of AC stations for CBS RADIO…..Afternoon air personality Ryan Nelson exits iHeartMedia’s country WFUS, Tampa.  Nelson also served as APD and music director for the station…..At Scripps’ country KTTS, Springfield, Missouri, Nancy Simpson moves out of the newsroom at the cluster and joins Cash Williams as co-host on the morning show.   Simpson says, “I felt that a change might be good for my soul, but I really love it here at KTTS.  This is my work family.  With this move into the morning show, I get to show the lighter side of my personality, but still be at home.”

Monday, April 16, 2018

| April 16, 2018

Remembering Art Bell. The somewhat eerie fact that 72-year-old Art Bell died on Friday the 13th (4/13 in Pahrump, Nevada) certainly could not go unnoticed or overlooked. Bell was the founder and original host of the paranormal-themed “Coast to Coast AM,” which Premiere Networks syndicated on hundreds of North American radio outlets. Part of a Bell retrospective on that program’s website details that, “His love of radio led him to working for an English-language station in Japan, where he set a Guinness world record for broadcasting 116 hours straight. This was no mere radio stunt, however, as it served to raise funds to rescue over 100 Vietnamese orphans left stranded by the conflict in their home country.  Upon returning to the United States, he entered the world of talk radio with an overnight program on KDWN, Las Vegas.  After noticing that episodes covering conspiracy theories and paranormal topics generated considerable interest from listeners, Bell transformed the show from political talk to discussion of these often-verboten realms. Syndicated nationally in 1993 [by Talk Radio Network], ‘Coast to Coast AM’ soon became a radio phenomenon.  During the 1990s, when ‘The X-Files’ had people wondering about the world of high strangeness, Art Bell was the voice of that world, introducing millions of radio listeners to a vast array of paranormal topics and the researchers that studied them. As he begins his journey on the ‘Other Side,’ we take solace in the hope that he is now finding out all of the answers to the mysteries he pursued for so many nights with all of us.”  The Jacksonville, North Carolina born former Air Force medic “semi-retired” from “Coast to Coast AM” 15 years ago but could be heard hosting the program on weekends from 2003 – 2007 and was an occasional guest host through 2010.  Bell called his show “absolute entertainment” and did not necessarily accept every guest or caller’s claims but offered a forum where they would not be openly ridiculed. SiriusXM debuted “Art Bell’s Dark Matter” in September 2013 on its “Indie Talk” channel, but that four-hour (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, PT) Monday through Thursday venture ended after just six weeks. Approximately four-dozen stations carried his 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight PT “Midnight in the Desert” show, which launched on the Internet in July 2015 on Bell’s Dark Matter Digital Network. Three months later in October of 2015, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviewed him for his weekly podcast. The following is a brief excerpt from that long-form conversation in which Bell assesses the state of the radio industry and its future.  To listen to the clip, please click 

      here
.  Five months later though, Bell exited, citing concerns about his family’s safety.  Bell was replaced as weekday host of “Coast to Coast AM” on January 1, 2003 by George Noory, who reacted emotionally on air last Friday night to Bell’s passing. “I’m trying to get my composure here, folks,” a shaken Noory admitted. “Art and I were not that close.  We had our differences, but he was one of those instrumental in me being where I am right now.  He was a very heavy smoker and was hospitalized a year or so ago because of [that].  I don’t know if that played a factor in [his death] or not.”  In 1996, KTRS, St. Louis’ Tim Dorsey hired Noory to be “The Night Hawk” and as Bell decided he needed an emergency replacement, Noory gained national exposure by doing his first “Coast to Coast AM” show in April 2001. “As Art’s back problems became more severe, I started doing more shows, until he decided to retire from fulltime work,” Noory told Inside Radio’s then special features editor/current TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian.  Equating the experience of substituting for – and eventually succeeding – Bell on a fulltime basis to pinch-hitting for Babe Ruth, Noory maintained, “It’s sometimes an unreal feeling. I never showed it on the air, but replacing Art Bell was overwhelming for me. I realized there was no way I could replace him. It wouldn’t work if I tried to duplicate him.” The first time Noory heard Bell was in 1996 when he was driving to work at heritage St. Louis news/talker KMOX. “I said to myself that I wanted to do that program,” Noory confided to Kinosian. “After I concentrated on the show, strange events occurred that made it all happen.  Whatever’s out there in the universe that makes things happen for people is real.”  Now living in Lexington, Kentucky, noted spoken-word consultant/programmer Gabe Hobbs is a former vice president/programming – news, talk, & sports for Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). “What a special talent Art Bell was – truly unique,” Hobbs declares.  “He helped talk radio evolve from the Larry King-era into the modern era of our format.  He is the man that made overnights meaningful and profitable in radio.”  Longtime iHeartMedia Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103” air talent Ted Ziegenbusch notes on Facebook, “I did a late-night show for about 20 years in the 1980s and 1990s. On a family trip to central California one night, I heard Art on a tiny radio station. That was long before he became popular and I was fascinated with his stories about UFOs; ghosts; pyramids on Mars; climate change; and all sorts of quirky subjects. His shows were almost always riveting and impossible to leave for even a moment. When I returned from my trip north, I told my general manager that Art Bell would be perfect for our AM station. Nobody had ever heard of the guy, so my suggestion fell on deaf ears. Later, he would join our team and score enormous success. The story doesn’t end there. Sadly, there were some real ups and downs in Art’s life and his career; [however], he was sure a trailblazer and one-of-a-kind entertainer.” Brian Whitman, who does morning drive in Los Angeles on Salem Media Group news/talk KRLA, recounts, “Many years ago when I was younger and less experienced, I was doing some on-air work at Premiere Radio Networks. I asked the boss if he would consider me to be a substitute host on ‘Coast to Coast’ when Art Bell was absent. I took the opportunity to mention that when those crazy people called, I’d goof on them and do a really funny show. The boss made me smarter [by telling me], ‘Brian, you don’t understand. On ‘Coast to Coast,’ when someone calls to tell you an alien landed in their swimming pool, you don’t make fun. You say, ‘tell me more.’ [That was] the genius of Art Bell. I always say that the most important thing for a radio performer is to find his voice.  Art Bell’s singular voice, brilliant mind, and master showmanship came together to create his own brand. He understood the intimacy that radio can create [and] the lives it can touch.”  An executive producer at iHeartMedia Los Angeles news/talk KFI, Michelle Kube, comments that, “Even if I thought some of the stories were crazy, you couldn’t deny [Art Bell’s] talent.” He was “a true radio pioneer and a great storyteller. He created ‘Coast to Coast AM’ – it’s his legacy.”  For the past 14 years, Kurt Kretzschmar has been director of affiliate marketing – Premiere Networks. The former executive producer of Los Angeles sports outlet KSPN and cross-town news/talk KABC asserts that tapes of Bell’s shows “that air on Saturday nights are some of the highest-rated weekend hours on several affiliates.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Northern Ohio region, which includes WHLO “640 Akron’s News Talk,” Keith Kennedy, was among programmers scheduling Art Bell tribute programming this past weekend. Kennedy wrote on Facebook, “Listen to ‘Somewhere in Time’ Saturday at 9:00 pm – we’ll rebroadcast one of his unique programs.”  Bell studied engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, but dropped out to become a radio chief engineer/board op/occasional on-air talent.  In May 2008, he sold KNYE, Pahrump to station manager Karen Jackson for a reported $600,000. Inducted to the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame (2006) and National Radio Hall of Fame (2008), Bell received Radio & Records’ “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2007. A July 2016 posting on Bell’s website indicated he was hospitalized for pneumonia and that he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Nye County (Nevada) sheriff Sharon Wehrly described Bell as a “longtime resident” of the area and said an autopsy to confirm the cause of death would be performed later this week. Geller Media International Broadcast Consultants president Valerie Geller proclaims, “May his journey continue in peace.”

WWJ, Detroit Names Brooke Allen PM Drive Co-Host. Detroit all-news WWJ-AM “Newsradio 950” announces that Brooke Allen (right) is returning to the station to co-host the afternoon drive daypart (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm) with current afternoon host Greg Bowman (left).  Allen was most recently the producer and local host of “Morning Edition” on public news/talk WKAR-AM/FM, East Lansing, Michigan.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “We are excited to welcome Brooke back to WWJ.  In addition to being an award-winning journalist, Brooke is devoted to our local community.   Her passion for the news and connection to the people of the metro Detroit area will be evident each and every day.”

Johnson Named VP of Sports Sales for iHeartMedia Denver. Denver sales pro Jeff Johnson is promoted at iHeartMedia to vice president of sports sales & partnerships.  In this new role, Johnson is charged with “growing and managing iHeartMedia Denver’s sports partnerships, including the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies, as well as its Broncos-centric station, KDSP-AM ‘Orange & Blue 760.'”  iHeartMedia Denver SVP of sales Ryan Clune states, “I’m thrilled for Jeff.  Watching him grow over the years from senior account executive to director of sports sales, and now vice president of sports sales & partnerships has been a highlight of my career.  Jeff’s ability to align advertisers with our exclusive sports content, along with delivering unmatched reach, brand affinity, and ROI for our partners makes him the ideal leader to step into this key position.”

Price: Are You Ready for Atlantic Hurricane Season? Former longtime director of business continuity & crisis management for ABC’s news and technology & operations divisions, Howard B. Price, writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the need to be prepared for the Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Price says that tropical researchers at Colorado State University have issued their predictions for this year and have concluded that there will likely be 14 named storms between June 1 and November 30. Of those, researchers expect seven hurricanes, with three of those likely to be major storms (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5, with sustained winds of 111 MPH – plus).  Price provides this nine-point preparedness checklist for broadcasters who could be affected by an Atlantic hurricane or any other natural disaster for that matter.  See it here.

Padres Executive Chairman Opens Up About KEGY Format Tweak.  As reported in the San Diego Union Tribune writer Bryce Miller, San Diego Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler says the team had “significant input and impact” on the format and branding changes Entercom made to KEGY, but not so much as to dictate which air talent should go where.  Union Tribune reports Fowler and the Padres had issues with KEGY’s programming as “97.3 The Machine” before air personality Kevin Klein’s promotional Tweet that referenced the city’s Coronado bridge and its history as a site of hundreds of suicides.  Miller quotes Fowler referencing the station’s programming as “shock-jock” radio.  See Miller’s story here.

Comey’s ABC Interview/Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S. Strikes on Syria, Starbucks-Philly Arrests, Mexico Border Issues, Barbara Bush Health Status, MLB and NBA Playoffs Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Former FBI director James Comey’s interview on ABC-TV in which he discussed the investigation into the Hillary Clinton email matter and opined on President Trump’s fitness for office and the related investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the weekend’s U.S. military strikes in Syria; the controversy over the arrest of two black men for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks; the issue of security at the U.S.-Mexico border; former First Lady Barbara Bush’s failing health; and Major League Baseball and NBA playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes.  According to the most recent list published by The Hollywood Reporter, Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity and multi-media personality Ryan Seacrest are two of the 35 most powerful media people in New York. Regarding Hannity, THR says that he regularly commands the largest audience of any cable news host on television, in addition to reaching millions of listeners on his national radio show.  “He also has the ear (and the eyes) of the president…and has the power to make or break Republican political candidates.”  As for Seacrest, the publication says that since Kelly Ripa tapped him as her co-host in May, viewership of ABC’s “LIVE with Kelly & Ryan” has “risen nearly 15% to 3.2 million viewers each day.”  See the whole list here…..Westwood One announces a strategic partnership with American Public Media to increase sales and promotional opportunities for season two of the investigative podcast, “In the Dark.”  The first season of “In the Dark” has driven nearly 12 million downloads to date and continues to receive downloads more than a year later at roughly 465,000 per month.  In this new relationship, Westwood One is providing broadcast radio show promotion and exclusive ad sales representation…..Pictured below is former White House national security adviser Dr. Sebastian Gorka (left) reviewing documents with Ken Lormand (right), Washington bureau chief of Salem Radio Network News.  As a former Trump adviser, Gorka has insight into administration personnel moves, including CIA director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become the next U.S. Secretary of State.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! to Feature Presentation by Salem VP Phil Boyce Titled, “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio.” There is no doubt that the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump to the U.S. presidency has greatly impacted news/talk radio and its associated platforms of talk media. Salem Media Group SVP of the spoken word format Phil Boyce will deliver an address, backed up by Harker Research data, exploring this phenomenon in detail during the morning sessions of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The presentation will be introduced by highly regarded programmer Greg Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media. The 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running, and most important convention takes place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The day opens with back-to-back keynote “fireside chats” conducted by Michael Harrison with Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity and Beasley Broadcasting CEO Caroline Beasley. The conference will also include presentations by such industry notables as PodcastOne executive chairman, Norm Pattiz; former WFAN, New York sports talk superstar, Mike Francesa; Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, panel appearances by Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes and an afternoon keynote address by Infowars and GCN maverick Alex Jones. There will be panels on programming, sales, digital convergence and more featuring a total of 50-plus speakers from all aspects of the talk media industry. The convention is on a fast-track to being an advance sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. For more information and the complete up-to-the-minute agenda, read the story below.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Agenda Posted. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to post the basic agenda for the 21stannual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention – TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! takes place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception – all in a single, power-packed day! Full up-to-the-minute agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information can be seen here. If you are planning to attend, it would be wise to register NOW. This convention will be an early sellout.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Denver, iHeartMedia names Chelsea Thomas midday host for country KWBL “106.7 The Bull,” effective April 23.   iHeartMedia region SVP of programming JoJo Turnbeaugh says, “An on-air opening with iHeartMedia in Denver always generates strong interest from many talented personalities.  Chelsea was the clear winner. Her authenticity and unique ability to weave storytelling into her show made her the ideal match for the Bull Nation.”  Thomas was most recently music director and air personality at Alpha Media’s CHR WDJX, Louisville…..KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio” music director and midday personality Michelle Boros exits her position with the Entercom CHR station after an eight-year stint…..Kristina Carlyle signs on with Albany Broadcasting’s country WKLI, Albany “100.9 The Cat” to co-host the morning show and serve as music director. Carlyle – most recently with Scripps’ KVOO, Tulsa – takes over for the departed Dana Race…..There’s a new morning host at California Radio Partners’ triple A KOZT, Fort Bragg “The Coast” as Dred Scott is tapped to work alongside news director Joe Regelski.  Station co-owner and program director Tom Yates says, “We did a job posting and got 41 responses in two days from some really good candidates.  But Dred is a really good fit with the ‘Coast’ crew.”…..At Ingstad Media’s country KXDD, Yakima, Washington, Lindsey Cleveland is promoted from part-time status to full-time as morning drive co-host with Brian Stephenson on “The Good Morning Gang with Brian & Lindsey.” Cleveland fills the role vacated recently by Carey Jacobson…..In Washington, DC, Kala Simmons is named morning show producer for WASH-FM’s “Toby and Chilli” morning show. Simmons has been with the iHeartMedia Washington cluster for the past three years as assistant digital producer for WIHT’s “The Kane Show.”

Thursday, April 12, 2018

| April 12, 2018

Entercom Re-Thinks Hot Talk Hybrid ‘97.3 The Machine’; Launches Sports Talk ‘97.3 The Fan’ Today.  After two weeks of consideration following air personality Kevin Klein’s controversial Tweet promoting his morning show that would never see the light of day, Entercom drops the hot talk/sports talk hybrid format for KEGY, San Diego – that included Dan Sileo in middays and the Seattle-based “The Men’s Room” show in afternoons – and goes traditional sports talk.  The lineup features Sileo in morning drive and market pro Chris Ello partnered with Padres legend Tony Gwynn Jr. for afternoon drive.  Entercom San Diego SVP and market manager Bob Bolinger says, “After a recent off-air tweet, we took the opportunity to step back, listen to the important feedback from the community and our partners – the Padres – and re-evaluate the path forward.  The station was always going to be largely about sports and we determined the right thing to do was to go 100% all-in.  We look forward to building ‘97.3 The Fan’ into San Diego’s best sports station, delivering the highest quality content and listening experience for the people of this great community.”  Middays will feature CBS Sports Radio syndicated personalities Jim Rome (9:00 am to 12:00 noon) and Doug Gottlieb (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) and, of course, the San Diego Padres are sticking with the station for its radio flagship.

RTDNA Concerned About DHS Journalist Database Program.  Via its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force, the Radio Television Digital News Association says it is “expressing grave concern regarding a report the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is soliciting bids from companies that would create a database of ‘hundreds of thousands of news sources around the world and compile a database of journalists, editors, foreign correspondents, and bloggers to identify top media influencers.’”  RTDNA reports that it learned via the website Big Law Business that the Department of Homeland Security is “seeking a contractor that can help it monitor traditional news sources as well as social media and identify ‘any and all’ coverage related to the agency or a particular event… The data to be collected includes a publication’s ‘sentiment’ as well as geographical spread, top posters, languages, momentum, and circulation.  The request comes amid heightened concern about accuracy in media and the potential for foreigners to influence U.S. elections and policy through ‘fake news.’” Big Law Business says the DHS request for proposals was put out after 19 Republican members of Congress wrote with concerns about Al Jazeera (owned by the government of Qatar) and whether it should have to register as a foreign agent.  RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley says, “Whether or not the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security is seeking to create a database of journalists and others as a result of the inquiries about Al Jazeera’s independence, it is wrong.  The fact the U.S. government may wish to monitor journalists would put the principles of the First Amendment, and the existence of responsible journalism, which are bedrocks of our democracy, on a perilous precipice.”

‘Free Talk Live’ on Affiliate Binge. The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” show starring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge announces it has passed the 180-affiliate mark.  The program adds more than a dozen stations during 2018 so far, including: Cumulus Media’s WGOW-FM and WGOW-AM in Chattanooga; Eagle Communications’ KFEQ-AM, Kansas City; The Cromwell Group’s WZUS-FM, Decatur, Illinois; Connoisseur Media’s WJET-AM, Erie; Texarkana Radio Center’s KTFS-AM/FM, Texarkana, Texas; and EMG2’s KTEL-AM/FM, Walla Walla, Washington.  The show also welcomes back former affiliates Sugar River Media’s WNTK-FM, New London and WUVR-AM/FM, Lebanon in New Hampshire.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Paul Ryan Announces Exit, Zuckerberg Before Congress, U.S. Syria Policy, Mexican Border Security, and MLB and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/11).  The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents and the status of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller; House Speaker Paul Ryan announces he won’t run for re-election and will leave his post next January; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress; President Trump’s threats of military action in Syria aimed at the Russians; Mexican border security and the “caravan” of illegals; and MLB and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. It’s being called a re-launch of its classic R&B format in New Orleans.  Entercom’s WWWL-AM is now simulcasting on translator W225CZ and re-brands as “The New HOT 92.9 FM.”  Entercom says the new frequency will reach a broader fan base in the Northshore area and improve the listening experience for the adjoining New Orleans metro areas.  Big Abe continues to host the morning drive and Kelder Summers will remain in the afternoon drive daypart…..SiriusXM is broadcasting live from the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for the fourth consecutive year.  The limited-run channel on the satellite radio service will feature music by artists who will be performing leading up to the festival.  Once it starts, Coachella Radio will provide continuous coverage of the festival both weekends with live performances, artist interviews, as well as exclusive Coachella news and happenings…..Westwood One welcomes more than 90 of country music’s biggest acts to its Westwood One Backstage at the Academy of Country Music Awards to celebrate the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards.  Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes comments, “With our long-standing official partnership, only Westwood One Backstage and the Academy of Country Music Awards can deliver such extraordinary star-power to our listeners, affiliates, and advertisers.  We’re bringing the biggest country music stars and radio personalities together to capture unique over the air, on demand, and social content that celebrates the passion, the energy, and the glory of country music at its best.”

FCC Quiets Cumulus’ ‘99X’ Atlanta Translator for Now.  The translator – W255CJ, Atlanta – has been the subject of complaints from Steve Gradick’s WWGA-FM, Tallapoosa, Georgia citing interference for several years now.  But yesterday (4/11), the FCC issued a cease operation order to Cumulus for the translator that’s been simulcasting the HD2 signal of WWWQ as alternative “99X.”  WWGA and Cumulus were ordered to do a series of on-off air tests and, although Cumulus argued that the tests showed no significant interference due to the operation of W255CJ, WWGA’s interpretation of the results indicated its best signal was present when the translator was off.  The FCC ruled that since Cumulus has not “remediated the interference,” it is ordering Cumulus to shut it down.

Friday, March 16, 2018

| March 16, 2018

Salem Media Group Q4 Broadcast Net Revenue Down 2.9%.  While Salem Media Group’s total revenue decreased from $70.7 million to $67.2 million – a decrease of 4.9% — the broadcast division’s revenue dipped from $52.2 million to $50.7 million – a decline of 2.9%.  For the entire year of 2017, Salem’s broadcast division net revenue was also down 2.9%, from $202 million to $196.2 million.  Salem Media Group breaks its operations into broadcast, digital and publishing.  In the fourth quarter of 2017, digital was down 12.8% and publishing was down 5.8%.  For the whole of 2017, digital decreased 7.9% and publishing dipped 4.3%.  Salem CEO Ed Atsinger says one of several factors impacting the fourth quarter decline in the broadcast segment was the lack of political advertising compared to the same period in 2016. Broadcast reported $500,000 less in that category from Q4 2016 to Q4 2017.

Neuhoff Media Debuts Sports Talker in Lafayette, Indiana.  The new FM translator is being branded “101.7 The Hammer” and is fed by Neuhoff Media’s WASK-AM, Lafayette.  The station airs programming from ESPN Radio but the Journal Courier reports that a local show called “The Hammer Down Show” will debut on Monday featuring former WLFI-TV Lafayette  sports anchor Clayton Duffy and Jared Jesulaitis.  Neuhoff VP of programming Mike Shamus is quoted saying the program will include local content plus talk about Indianapolis and Chicago sports teams.  “We are excited to enter the world of local sports.  We feel it is something our region has needed for a long time and we are happy to bring it to Greater Lafayette.”

iHeartMedia Moves to Sooth Inevitable Concerns During Chapter 11.  As with any company that’s entering Chapter 11 intending to exit a leaner, more agile company, iHeartMedia is working to ensure staff, vendors, agency partners, etc., that it is able to conduct business as usual within the framework of bankruptcy regulations.  In a FAQ sheet the company is distributing, it answers many of the questions usually asked during the bankruptcy process.  For venders who do business with iHeartMedia, it notes that “we intend to continue working closely with our vendors.  We can and will pay for goods delivered and services rendered after the Chapter 11 filing (called the “postpetition” period) in the normal course.  In Chapter 11, amounts owed for goods delivered and services rendered after the Chapter 11 filing are deemed “administrative priority claims.”  The company must pay these claims in full before it can pay any vendor/service provider expenses incurred before the Chapter 11 filing (called “prepetition” claims).”

TALKERS News Notes.  Longtime television news pro Shepard Smith is staying with FOX News.  He and the company are agreeing to a new multi-year deal.  FOX News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch comments, “Shepard Smith is an exemplary journalist whose skill in anchoring breaking news is unrivaled.  His powerful storytelling on both television and digital platforms has elevated our entire news gathering process.”  Smith says, “I am incredibly proud to be part of a group of journalists who helped build the FOX News division from scratch 22 years ago and am extremely thankful for the opportunity to continue to lead our breaking news coverage for years to come.”…..WABC, New York personality Sid Rosenberg gets some ink from Newsday as he and co-host Bernard McGuirk prepare to assume the morning drive program at the station after the final “Imus in the Morning” show on March 30.  He tells the paper it is “surreal” to be replacing Imus, whom he listened to as a youngster on the way to school.  Read the piece here…..At Radio Vermont’s full service WDEV in Waterbury-Warren, Vermont, Dana Jewell returns to the station after 10 years working in the sales field.  New owner Steve Cormier calls Jewell “a staple of WDEV for a number of years — greeting listeners each day with his friendly style.  We have many listeners who remember Dana and will be happy to hear him on WDEV again.”…..Former iHeartMedia Fort Collins sales pro Jen Parker is named executive director of public radio outlet, taking over for James Lopez…..Jewish News in Arizona reports that Seth Leibsohn — one half of the “Seth and Chris Show” that airs in afternoon drive on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KKNT, Phoenix “960 The Patriot” – is running for the U.S. House in Arizona’s 9th Congressional District as a Republican.  Leibsohn co-hosts the show with Chris Buskirk.  Liebsohn is also an attorney and an author…..ESPN personality is launching a new podcast via ESPN Audio called “Marty Smith’s America…The Podcast.”  ESPN says Smith is known for his unique storytelling style and revealing, in-depth interviews with sports figures and newsmakers on SportsCenter and other ESPN platforms.”  It debuts Monday (3/19) with country music superstar Jason Aldean as the first guest…..Pictured below is ABC Radio’s Matt Friedlander (right) posing for a photo with ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons (left) after chatting about the band’s upcoming summer tour with John Fogerty.

Trump-Russia Investigation Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 12-16.  The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump Administration changes.  Coming in at #3 was the Inspector General’s investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton emails case and Andrew McCabe’s status, followed by the Stormy Daniels matter at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS magazine Presents the 2018 Edition of ‘The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.’ This is the sixth annual edition of “The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America” from the editors of TALKERS magazine. The list, also known as the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk, ranks sports talk radio hosts – both national and local – from 1 to 100 based on a number of hard factors, such as ratings and revenue, as well as soft factors including impact, recognition, talent and others. To qualify for inclusion on the list, hosts must be working a regularly scheduled show at a terrestrial radio station or on satellite radio at the time of its publication. See the 2018 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.

Superstar Crooner Steve Tyrell Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the world’s leading purveyors of the Great American Songbook – and recent holder of the number one position on the Billboard Jazz Album Chart – Steve Tyrell is this week’s guest on the award winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Tyrell, who also hosts a daily three-hour program on KKJZ-FM (K-Jazz), Los Angeles discusses his colorful history that goes back to the early 1970s Brill Building era when he was a songwriter, producer and label A&R director, through his present-day career as a major star in the popular standards genre. This conversation, somewhat of a departure from the usual political fare, is a music-lover’s delight and not to be missed by aficionados of popular culture. Harrison says, “I loved speaking with this fascinating artist. It gave me a chance to revisit some of my old music radio chops and explore something that I have learned having been in this business for so many years – everything old is new again and nothing is inherently hip.” To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on “The Michael Harrison Interview” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tallahassee radio pro Jeff Horn joins Adams Radio of Tallahassee as operations manager and program director for country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf,” taking over for Gregory “Big Moose” Juszczyk.  Adams Radio Tallahassee vice president and general manager Hank Kestenbaum says, “We are thrilled to have Jeff on our team.  Jeff has spent 30 years in Tallahassee radio and his prior experience in country radio and in similar positions made him the perfect candidate for us, not to mention we have a prior history together. I guess you could say we put the band back together!”…..Ashlee Sleek is appointed morning drive co-host at Bicoastal Media’s CHR KDUK, Eugene, Oregon.  She’ll also serve as promotions-social media director.  She takes over for Amanda McGraw, who recently exited to join KBEB, Sacramento…..In the Harrisburg market, Cumulus Media flips frequencies of two of its stations.  CHR WWKL-FM (formerly known as “HOT 93.5 FM”) moves to the more powerful 106.7 FM frequency and becomes “HOT 106.7.”  Accordingly, the company’s country WZCY moves to the 93.5 FM frequency and is now “93.5 NASH FM, Your Neighborhood Country.”  It will adopt a more gold-based country format with core artists including Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, and George Strait.  Afternoon personality and program director Charles “Chachi” Angelo is now co-hosting the morning show with Jenna Clay.  Midday personality Alex Harley moves to afternoons, followed by “NASH Nights Live” in evenings and “The Blair Garner Show” in overnights.

Monday, March 12, 201

| March 12, 2018

WABC Officially Names ‘Bernie & Sid’ New Morning Show.  On Friday (3/9), TALKERS magazine wrote that Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg will replace the “Imus in the Morning” show on WABC, New York on April 2.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “It is nearly impossible to replace a legend like Don Imus.  Bernie and Sid have been part of the Imus cast for decades and the new show represents an evolution more than a replacement.”  Sid Rosenberg says, “I used to joke with Bernard over a decade ago about possibly working together.  After all my trials and tribulations, that looked like a pipe dream not that long ago.  I love working with Bernard and appreciate his friendship even more.  Of course, none of this happens without Don Imus.  I’ll always appreciate what Imus did for me personally and professionally.  He’s a true legend and I’ve stolen as much as I can from him without being too obvious!”  McGuirk adds, “This is a dream come true for me and an honor for my longtime friend Sid and I to assume the morning slot on the legendary WABC Radio from the irreplaceable and legendary Don Imus.  We owe it all to Mr. Imus!  To quote the great Conor McGregor, ‘We’re not here to take part.  We’re here to take over!’ Brooklyn and the Bronx booming from your radio!!”

Kevin Barrett Exits Desert Broadcasters’ News/Talk KKGX, Palm Springs.  Talk programming pro Kevin Barrett exits Desert Broadcasters operations in Palm Springs, California where he was station manager/program director at news/talk KKGX “Real Talk” and adult standards KWXY.  Barrett says, “Both stations had gone dark in 2016 under the previous ownership, so it was very exciting to rebuild – literally – studios and brands from the ground up.  The stations are in a position for success.”  Barrett is available for his next opportunity.  He’s previously served as PD at KTRB, San Francisco; KTRS, St. Louis; KABZ-FM, Little Rock; and KEEL, Shreveport.  Reach him at: barrettkevin41@gmail.com or 415-283-9201.

Dave Ramsey Profiled in Politico. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey is profiled in Politico.  The name of the piece is intriguing: “The Financial Whisperer to Trump’s America.”  The story draws the connection between Ramsey’s core listeners – those who likely voted for Donald Trumpand the numerous Americans who, according to Ramsey, believe that they are in financial dire straits and are not hopeful about being able to get out of the mess they are in.  Ramsey says he senses that there are more people who feel they are in over their heads and not hopeful of being able to get out that there were 25 years ago.  Ironically, given how many white Rust Belt Americans voted for Trump because of his job creation promises, Ramsey is dismissive of a president’s – any president’s – ability to create jobs.  “The office does not have that much power.”  Read the piece here.

Salem Adds FM Translator to Twin Cities News/Talker.  WWTC, Minneapolis adds an FM translator at 107.5 FM.  W263BS began simulcasting the programming of “1280 The Patriot” on March 1.  Salem Media Group Minneapolis general manager Nic Anderson says, “Our goal with adding the FM translator is to continue to give our loyal audience in the north and west metro an additional option to hear their favorite radio station.  We are now able to add FM radio to our heritage AM signal, along with listening through our mobile apps, website, and smart speakers.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new trial date has been set for former WFAN, New York morning personality Craig Carton.  Originally, the first court date was set for September of this year.  That now moves to October 29.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Carton – formerly paired up with Boomer Esiason on the WFAN morning show – was charged with fraud in connection with what the feds say was a Ponzi scheme involving the resale of concert tickets.  The feds’ case alleges that Carton’s motivation was to pay off gambling debts.  Carton has maintained his innocence while endeavoring to get a fresh start in media via a podcast and videocast…..Westwood One is presenting exclusive live coverage of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship beginning tomorrow (3/13).  Action from all 67 games, including the First Four, eight first-round and second-round games, plus regional semifinals and finals.  Westwood One will broadcast live coverage of the Final Four on Saturday, March 31 and the National Championship Game on Monday, April 2.  Kevin Kugler, Hall of Fame coach John Thompson, and Clark Kellogg will call the Final Four games…..Futuri Media announces that rock radio pro Michael Sharkey joins the company as product manager for #engage and Futuri Mobile.  Jim Roberts joins as national account manager.  He was most recently with Mid-West Family Broadcasting managing the South Bend market.  Also, Jim Tarantine becomes national account manager for Futuri.  He was most recently with Nielsen Audio as director, client solutions.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Tariffs-Trade War, Stormy Daniels Case, Putin’s NBC Interview, MIT Fake News Study, Trump PA Rally, New Florida Gun Law, Black Panther/A Wrinkle in Time, March Madness, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the Trump tariffs on steel and aluminum and speculation about trade wars; the legal battle between Donald Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels; Vladimir Putin’s interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly and his suggestion Russian Jews may have meddled in the 2016 U.S. election; the MIT study showing fake news spreads through social media faster than real news; President Trump’s Pennsylvania rally; Florida’s new gun law in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting; the Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time films; the NCAA tournament bracket; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: January’s Highs & Lows.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s January 2018 survey and presents an in-depth, format-by-format look at the stations that went up or down by a full share or more from the Holiday 2017 to January 2018 survey.  It’s not unusual to see adult contemporary stations come back down to earth after the Holiday survey and to see other stations get listeners back after that period.  So, which stations stood at the tops of the gains and losses columns?  Country WCOL, Columbus led the gainers (6+) with a 3.1 share rise from Holiday to January and KSFI, Salt Lake City went from a 23.2 share to an 8.1 share – a difference of -15.1 shares.  See the whole report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Last week, we reported that Steve Dahl would host the final program on legendary Chicago rocker WLUP-FM “The Loop” prior to the start of its LMA by Educational Media Foundation on Saturday when began airing the company’s K-Love Christian contemporary format.  (EMF is paying Merlin Media $21.5 million for the signal.) That happened on Friday night as the Dahl-hosted broadcast included numerous “Loop” personalities from its colorful history.  Absent, however, was Garry Meier.  As Chicago media write Robert Feder reports, Dahl tried to get Meier on board, to no avail.  Interestingly, Meier also backed out of a WGN-AM program honoring the rock station.  Read Feder’s column here…..iHeartMedia Tampa Bay names AJ Malone has been named program director for WXTB, Tampa “98ROCK.”  Senior vice president of programming for Tampa bay Tommy Chuck says, “As assistant program director, AJ has played a key role in driving great ratings and revenue gains for ‘98ROCK.’  This upgrade in role and responsibilities is one she has certainly earned!” Prior to joining WXTB in August of 2017, Malone was program director at WXSR-FM, Tallahassee.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

| March 6, 2018

Will Tomorrow Be the Day iHeartMedia’s Future Becomes Clearer? On Sunday, iHeartMedia and Consenting Lenders entered into a Forbearance Agreement that put off iHM’s defaut on an interest payment on 14% Senior Notes until midnight tomorrow (3/7).  That gives both sides more time to work out a solution to the company’s $20 billion in debt and avoid putting the matter into the hands of a bankruptcy judge.  Analysts watching this case are taking note of the fact that John Malone’s Liberty Media purchased $400 million of iHM’s debt last week and now becomes a creditor in the event of a bankruptcy.  Just how important Liberty’s involvement as a creditor becomes remains to be seen but, remember that Liberty came to the aid of SiriusXM when it needed cash and now controls a majority interest in that company.  A lot of the consumer press stories covering the iHeartMedia debt saga that TALKERS editors have seen imply the company is on the verge of “failure.”  But the reality – borne out by its quarterly financial reports – is that the company is making money.  It’s just not making enough to cover interest payments on the massive debt.  The latest term sheet from iHeartMedia summarizes a proposed restructuring of the company that would reduce its debt (in exchange for equity) to $5.75 billion.  As part of the proposed terms, it would spin off Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings.

And ‘The Loop’ in Chicago Goes to…Educational Media Foundation!  At first, today’s FCC filing to transfer classic rock WLUP-FM, Chicago from Merlin Media to non-profit Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation for $21.5 million seems surprising, but EMF did recently acquire KSWD, Los Angeles from Entercom and, unlike many secular, commercial broadcasting companies, it has money in the bank.  If approved, it’s expected that EMF will install its “K-Love” Christian contemporary format on the station.  Unfortunately, the deal means the current staff – including morning personality Erich “Mancow” Muller – will be out of work.  The other Merlin Media station still on the block in Chicago is alternative rock WKQX.

Salem Media Group LMAs KPAM, Portland.  In a press release issued Monday (3/5), Salem Media Group acknowledges that it is operating news/talk KPAM, Portland and adult standards KKOV “Sunny 1550” – both stations in the process of being sold by Pamplin Broadcasting to Intelli LLC.  The presser is titled, “KPAM is Alive and Well” and notes that KPAM airs “live and local drive-time programs – ‘First Edition’ from 6am to 10am and ‘Afternoon Northwest’ from 3pm to 6pm – and syndicated programs such as ‘The Clark Howard Show,’ ‘The Schnitt Show,’ ‘The Michael Medved Show,’ and ‘The Joe Pags Show.’  Hourly news, weather, and sports as well as drive-time traffic are also featured.”

WRKO, Boston Adds Joe Pags Show for Evenings.  The WOAI, San Antonio-based Joe Pags show – hosted by Joe Pagliarulo – is joining the program lineup of iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston.  The Joe Pags show – heard in more than 100 markets across the country – airs in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot.  WRKO program director Michael Czarnecki says “We are thrilled to have Joe join the WRKO weekday line up.  Joe does so much more than just political talk.  He entertains, makes you think, makes you laugh, heck he even sings.  This makes him the perfect addition to the WRKO family.”  Pagliarulo states, “When you hear the call letters WRKO, you hear heritage – and a station most hosts can only dream of being on.  I’m psyched beyond words that my show is coming to this amazing station.  It’s an opportunity I cherish and simply cannot wait to talk with the great people of Boston on a daily basis.  Thank you so much to the management team for the trust and support!”

Saga Communications’ Fourth Quarter Net Revenue Rises 2.3%.  During 2017, Saga Communications executed the sale of its television stations and purchased radio stations in Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina.  Those transactions resulted in net income increasing $9.9 million during the fourth quarter of 2017 and $36.5 million for the year.  Saga reports that net revenue increased 2.3% to $31.5 million during Q4.  For the entire year, net revenue decreased 0.7% to $118.2 million.  For the fourth quarter, operating income decreased $433,000 to $5.3 million when adjusted for the $1.5 million charge for impairment of intangible assets.  Station operating expense increased 5.4% to $23.2 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations) primarily due to the acquisition of the Charleston and Hilton Head radio stations.  Free cash flow was $6.3 million compared to $7.6 million last year.  Same station net revenue decreased 4.2% to $29.5 million primarily due to a decrease in gross political revenue of $1 million and same station operating expense decreased 2.5% to $21.5 million for the quarter.

Urban One Reports Q4 2017 Net Revenue Down 4%.  The silver lining in this fourth quarter 2017 financial report from Urban One is that broadcast and digital operating income increased 2.8% compared to the same period in 2016.  But overall, net revenue was approximately $109 million, a decrease of 4% from the same period in 2016.  Adjusted EBITDA was approximately $38.7 million for the quarter, compared to $30.9 million for the same period in 2016, an increase of 25.6%.  Urban One president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “Overall, we produced a strong quarter from an Adjusted EBITDA standpoint, and as a result we were able to show full year Adjusted EBITDA growth, despite the challenging market conditions.  Our core radio revenues were up slightly for the quarter, excluding the impact of political revenues.  Our TV advertising revenues suffered from weak ratings delivery, which was somewhat offset by growth in affiliate revenues.  Our digital business benefitted from the integration of our acquisition of the Bossip, Madame Noire and Hip Hop Wired brands, and was up significantly in both revenue and Adjusted EBITDA compared to prior year.  We were able to control costs, most notably at TV One and Corporate.  During the quarter, we repurchased a further $20 million of our 9.25% notes at a discount, and we remain strongly committed to reducing net leverage.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports giant ESPN announces James Pitaro is the company’s new chief, taking over for John Skipper, who suddenly stepped down from his position in December in order to address what was termed a long-time substance abuse issue.  Pitaro has been serving the Walt Disney company in an executive capacity in the digital realm.  Pitaro will also serve as co-chair of Disney’s television segment…..JVC Media’s Long Island news/talk outlet WRCN, Riverhead “LI News Radio 103.9 FM” is presenting a “Spring Back to Business” event designed to be a “networking social get-together” on March 26 at its studio operations at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma.  Station personality Frank MacKay will introduce FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade who will take part in a Q&A with attendees.

Bill Lally Dies After Battle with Cancer.  Family, friends and the Southern California radio community are mourning the loss of Bill Lally, who passed away over the weekend after a long battle with cancer.  Lally was a longtime operations manager and APD at KFI, KLAC and KTLK in Los Angeles who exited the company in 2009 during the massive round of layoffs that took place at then-Clear Channel that year.  Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Lally had also served with WABC, New York; Westwood One; WMCA; and CBS RADIO during his career.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Sam Nunberg Subpoena, Financial Reforms Rollback, North Korea-South Korea Talks, Trump Tariffs/Trade War, Senate School Safety Bill, Netanyahu-Trump Meeting, the Oscars, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5).  The investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and the bizarre media tour by former Trump aide Sam Nunberg after being subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposes rolling back reforms enacted after the 2008 financial crisis; North Korea’s Kim Jong Un meets with South Korean officials; President Trump’s proposed steel and aluminum tariffs and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s move to block them; the U.S. Senate proposes a school safety bill in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida shooting; embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Washington and his meeting with President Trump; Sunday night’s Academy Awards show; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  The morning show at iHeartMedia’s hip hop WUSL, Philadelphia “Power 99” adds Roxy Romeo to the cast.  She’ll join the “Rise & Grind Morning Show” featuring Mikey Dredd and Mutha Knows, effective March 12.  iHM Philly director of urban programming Derrick Corbett says, “To be able to add a talent the likes of Roxy to our staff is phenomenal.  She’s an incredible personality who has the ability to make you feel as if you’ve known her for years upon first listen. We’re excited to be able to share her voice with the city of Philadelphia, and that she’s chosen to make ‘Power 99’ her new home.”  Romeo was most recently midday jock, APD and music director at the company’s “REAL 103.9” in Las Vegas…..Nate Bell is named program director at iHeartMedia’s hip hop WJLB and urban contemporary WMXD “Mix 92.3” in Detroit.  EVP of urban/hip hop programming Doc Wynter says, “We are so excited to have Nate back in our urban programming brain trust.  He was missed, but it was destiny for him to come back to iHeartMedia.  Things are about to heat up in Detroit!”…..In Charlotte, iHeartMedia names Brooke Morrison afternoon personality for CHR WHQC “Channel 96.1.”  Station PD A.J. says, “We are very excited about what Brooke will bring to Charlotte.  Her high level of engagement, work ethic and passion for music and entertainment make her a superstar on and off the air.  I look forward to her joining the team as we build the next chapter of ‘Channel 96.1.’”

Monday, March 5, 2018

| March 5, 2018

iHeartMedia Gets Breathing Room to Settle Debt Issue.  Industry watchers were expecting iHeartMedia to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection over the weekend as the default on a missed $103 million payment on 14% Senior Notes was about to kick in.  That didn’t happen and iHeart announces that yesterday (3/4) it “and certain lenders party thereto (the ‘Consenting Lenders’) entered into a Forbearance Agreement (the ‘Forbearance Agreement’), with respect to the Credit Agreement, dated as of May 13, 2008, as amended and restated as of February 23, 2011 (as further amended or supplemented from time to time, the ‘Credit Agreement’), among iHeartCommunications, as the parent borrower, the subsidiary co-borrowers and foreign subsidiary revolving borrowers party thereto, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, as a guarantor, Citibank, N.A., as administrative agent, swing line lender and letter of credit issuer, and the other lenders from time to time party thereto.  The Consenting Lenders constitute the lenders required under the Credit Agreement to grant a forbearance.  Pursuant to the Forbearance Agreement, the Consenting Lenders agreed to temporarily forbear from accelerating the obligations under the Credit Agreement or otherwise exercising any rights or remedies thereunder as a result of any actual or prospective event of default under Section 8.01(e) of the Credit Agreement resulting from iHeartCommunications’ failure to make an interest payment beyond the applicable grace period with respect to its 14.00% Senior Notes due 2021 that was originally due on February 1, 2018.  The forbearance became effective upon all parties’ execution thereof and will terminate immediately and automatically upon the earliest to occur of (i) March 7, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Central time and (ii) an event of default under the Credit Agreement other than those that resulted in the entry into the Forbearance Agreement (the ‘Forbearance Period’).”

Erick Erickson Signs New Deal with WSB, Atlanta.  Afternoon drive personality Erick Erickson has signed a new contract with Cox Media Group news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta to continue his work with the station through 2020.  Erickson joined the station in 2011 and moved into a prime daypart in less than one year.  WSB director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs states, “We are excited to have Erick as part of our radio family for the long term.  He came into radio having never expected to be on radio and has thrived.  The contacts in his phone are a ‘Who’s Who’ of newsmakers and power brokers.  Atlanta is genuinely listening to the most connected man in radio.”  In addition to hosting “Atlanta’s Evening News with Erick Erickson,” weeknights from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, he also provides political analysis for “Atlanta’s Morning News” and occasionally fills in for WSB’s Herman Cain.  Erickson says, “I fell into radio by accident, and it has been fun to really move from being a blogger and TV pundit into the role of talk radio host.  These last couple of years were not at all what I expected, but I get up every day excited to keep Atlanta entertained and informed with what is happening locally, nationally, and around the globe.”

Entercom Officially Announces Launch of ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego; Kevin Klein to Host Morning Drive.  Last week, TALKERS magazine reported Entercom’s plans for former CHR KEGY, San Diego – to turn it into a hot talk/sports hybrid with former XEPRS sports talker Dan Sileo in middays and the KISW, Seattle-based “The Men’s Room” show in afternoon drive.  Now, Entercom sends out an official presser announcing former alternative KITS, San Francisco personality Kevin Klein will be morning drive host, effective March 29.  Until that time, the station will air rebroadcasts of “The Men’s Room” in mornings.  As previously reported, the station will be the flagship for San Diego Padres baseball.  Entercom says the station will present a “unique mix of compelling personalities, comedy, sports and curated classic rock music…evenings and weekends when not broadcasting Padres baseball, ‘97.3 The Machine’ will provide music fans in San Diego with a true classic rock curated playlist ‘That Rocks,’ framed by entertaining comedy.”

Author Suing Sid Rosenberg and WFAN for Fraud.   Today’s New York Post is reporting that author Joseph DeBlasi is suing WABC, New York talk show host Sid Rosenberg and WFAN, New York for $20 million.  DeBlasi alleges in his complaint that Rosenberg was paid $5,000 to get DeBlasi interviews on the radio to promote his book, Polarized: Sex, Lies and Family Betrayal.  Rosenberg’s lawyer says the allegation is a lie and that Rosenberg was never given any money.  DeBlasi’s complaint states that the June 2014 deal was supposed to get DeBlasi on Geraldo Rivera’s program on WABC.  It further states that after Rosenberg attempted to get him the interview, DeBlasi learned that the deal with Rosenberg was illegal, violating payola laws.  DeBlasi did appear on WFAN three times when Rosenberg was filling in on the morning show.

‘The Conservative Cartel’ Now Syndicated by USA Radio.  Beginning today (3/5), “The Conservative Cartel” – co-hosted by Matt Locke and Chris X – is being syndicated by USA Radio.  The Fort Worth-based program airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET daily.  The program continues to be distributed via TheBlaze Radio Network for weekends.  The program will debut in 15-plus markets.  USA Radio general manager Janet Bro says, “We’re extremely excited to announce the addition of ‘The Conservative Cartel’ to the daily lineup of shows available from USA Radio.  Matt Locke and Chris X are the perfect addition to syndicated radio and the USA Radio family.”

WBEN, Buffalo Airing 12 Hours of Talk About School Safety and Guns.  Calling it “#12Voicesin12Hours,” WBEN, Buffalo program director Tim Wenger says in a blog post that today’s 6:00 am to 6:00 pm broadcast addressing school safety and guns may “make you uncomfortable at times…But to advance change, meaningful and helpful change, you need to understand those who disagree with you and hear them out.”  Wenger says, “The hard part about this ‘conversation’ is that while most people want to have it, most walk away from it as soon as ideas are presented that go against their own personal thoughts and beliefs on the issues.  Most ‘cable news’ conversations go ‘ugly’ in a hurry and simply build a brick wall between two warring sides.  Unless that changes, nothing changes…this broadcast is, by design, not laden with politicians who are looking for a spotlight.  But it will, in the end, include some thoughts from some willing members of our Congressional delegation who may well be charged with advancing legislation that could impact us all.”  Wenger notes that each hour of the broadcast will be saved as a podcast for listeners to check out later.

TALKERS News Notes. In New York, Salem Media Group is launching a news weekly program featuring John Catsimatidis called “Cats At Night” on WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”  The show debuts on Wednesday (3/7) and airs from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Catsimatidis also hosts a Sunday morning interview program called “The Cats Roundtable” that airs on WNYM and six other stations.  Catsimatidis says, “I love doing radio.  It’s the most enjoyable hour of my week.  I am excited about expanding my radio presence to drive time with ‘Cats at Night’ and the opportunity to share my views on what’s really going on in New York and the world.  My thanks to Jerry Crowley and his team at WNYM for their ongoing support.”…..WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that he recently had the pleasure of interviewing Atlantic County resident Helen Turner, who will turn 111 on April 1.  Hurley says he reached out to Atlantic County executive Dennis Levinson live, on the air requesting he make April 1, 2018 Helen Turner Day and he agreed.  Turner is also a huge fan of FOX News Channel star Tucker Carlson.  Hurley reached out to Carlson to see if he would announce Turner’s birthday on FNC and provide an autographed photo for her and he also readily agreed…..WTMJ, Milwaukee’s WTMJ Cares “Game Night for Stars and Stripes Honor Flight” recently raised a total of $54,758 to fund WTMJ Honor Flights for 150 veterans to see their memorial in Washington, DC.  The unique partnership with the NBA‘s Milwaukee Bucks featured a pre-game party at historic Turner Hall where guests met Vietnam Veterans.  After the party, the group enjoyed the Bucks game against the Washington Wizards.  The event was the finale of a three-week on-air campaign led by WTMJ Radio afternoon host, John Mercure.  Mercure’s “WTMJ Cares” fundraising project told stories of the service of Vietnam Veterans in the area. To complete the fundraising, WTMJ held a radiothon where WTMJ listeners donated $32,758 in three hours…..TribLive.com is reporting that the new owners of KQV, Pittsburgh hope to restore the all-news format that aired on the station prior to the previous owner’s shutting it down and selling it.  Robert and Ashley Stevens – principals of Broadcast Communications Inc. – are paying $55,000 for the station and its assets.  Stevens tells the news outlet, “We would like to be able to do the news.  I would like to be able to do it as a news station very similar to the way it was.  We just need to make sure we can do it in a way that would be financially feasible.”…..Northpine.com is reporting that WRRD, Milwaukee majority owner Michael Crute has entered into a deal with Good Karma Broadcasting to lease WTTN, Columbus, Wisconsin (Madison market) in order to air the “Resistance Radio” progressive talk format currently airing on WRRD.  WTTN’s primary signal is northeast of Madison but Crute has applied for an FM translator at 92.7 that would cover much of Madison.  Crute also has a construction permit for a 250-watt translator at 101.7 in the Milwaukee market.

Trump Tariffs/Trade War Talk, Trump Admires Xi Jinping, NRA Membership Spikes/Gun Control Issues, Russian Election Hacking, Sunday Night’s Oscars Awards, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  Reactions to President Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and the related issue of trade wars; President Trump’s comments about Chinese president Xi Jinping’s elimination of term limits for his position and suggestion that the U.S. should do the same; the NRA reports a spike in new memberships and the related issue of gun control measures; the allegations of Russian hackers targeting U.S. elections; Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony; and NBA 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. After last week’s departure of afternoon drive personality Cara Carriveau from Hubbard Radio’s adult contemporary WSHE, Chicago, the company announces the new afternoon team and several other air talent moves.  Former FOX TV Chicago personality Jenny Milkowski, a.k.a. Jenny Milk, is teaming up with Jay Styles to host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm program.  Styles moves from his role as the Chicago producer of the “Brooke & Jubal Morning Show” on WSHE.  Filling his shoes there is evening jock Robb Rose.  His 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight shift is now being hosted by station weekend personality Brian Middleton…..After moving country KIIX from the 96.1 frequency in Spokane to KZFS-AM/K257FX, iHeartMedia launches new alternative rock outlet “ALT 96.1.”  The station is airing Premiere Networks’ Los Angeles-based “The Woody Show” in morning drive…..The nationally syndicated Tino Cochino program is airing in evenings on Alpha Media’s CHR WNGY, Peoria “G 102.3.”  Cochino comments, “I’ve been a fan of the ‘G’ brand from the beginning.  Alpha took a different, much needed approach and it’s clearly working.  To partner our show with ‘G 102.3’ is beyond exciting to say the least!  I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to extending our brand in the Peoria market.”.….iHeartMedia announces Taylor Swift will present the world premiere of her new video for the hit single “Delicate” at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards this Sunday (3/11).  The event will simulcast live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET in addition to airing on numerous iHeartMedia radio stations…..The sale of four radio stations from MTS Broadcasting to Draper Media closes.  Draper acquires Maryland stations country WAAI-FM, Hurlock; oldies WTDK-FM, Federalsburg; adult standards WCEM-AM, Cambridge; and adult contemporary WCEM-FM, Cambridge for $700,000.  Greg Guy of Patrick Communications was the exclusive broker…..Premiere Networks and Viacom’s CMT announce a multi-year extension of their deal that syndicates CMT personality Cody Alan’s “CMT After MidNite” country music show.  As part of the deal, CMT and Premiere Networks will continue to collaborate and develop programs and events for multiple platforms.

PPM Analysis: Rhythmic CHR.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on rhythmic CHR.  In this report, Kinosian compares 6+ share fluctuations from the Holiday 2017 survey to January 2018, January 2017 to January 2018, and more.  See the whole report here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

| February 14, 2018

WEEI, Boston to Suspend Programming on Friday; Holds Mandatory Sensitivity Training for Air Staff.  In the aftermath of two recent incidents in which WEEI, Boston air personalities made statements that offended some, Entercom is suspending the sports talk station’s Friday programming and all staff will complete mandatory sensitivity training.  As regular TALKERS readers are aware, WEEI has been dealing with blowback – including lost advertisers – after a bit in which midday personality Christian Fauria used a phony Asian accent while imitating sports agent Don Yee (who, incidentally, speaks English without an accent).  It’s being reported that Comcast, City of Boston Credit Union, the Massachusetts Lottery, and possibly others, have cancelled ad campaigns with the station.  Fauria has been suspended by Entercom for a week and both the station and Fauria have apologized for the incident.  The cancellations appear to have come on the heels of an op-ed piece by Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung.  This latest incident came almost two weeks after WEEI’s Alex Reimer referred to Tom Brady’s daughter as “an annoying little pissant.”  Brady cut short a scheduled appearance on the “Kirk & Callahan” morning show because of Reimer’s comments.  The station posted the following on its website: “Nothing is more important to WEEI than the close-knit and diverse Boston community we call home, and we are committed to actively contributing to its betterment.  WEEI is in the process of closely reevaluating our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure that our programming is never intolerant or harmful to our listeners or our city.”  This suspension of live programming for mandatory sensitivity training is, as far back as TALKERS editors can remember, unprecedented in the radio industry.

U.S. Trustee Has Issues with Cumulus Bonus Structure.  More accurately, U.S. Trustee William Harrington has issues with the information Cumulus has supplied regarding its bonus structure at both the station level and for corporate executives.  Harrington has filed an objection stating that, among other things, Cumulus has not identified the job titles of those at the station level slated for bonuses, has not identified all of the corporate executives scheduled to receive payouts, nor has Cumulus shown that its bonus plan is an actual incentive plan and not retentive in nature (i.e. solely designed to keep key employees on board during a time of uncertainty).  What Harrington is saying is that actual incentive plans are allowed but Cumulus hasn’t satisfied him in showing its bonus plans are exactly that and not mechanisms to “enrich insiders” at the “expense of the creditors.”  Cumulus issued the following statement regarding Harrington’s objection: “The objection filed last night has absolutely no impact on the authorizations the Court gave the company on February 8th to pay incentive compensation for employees who earned it in 2017, or will earn it in 2018.  We will be making our incentive compensation payments to those employees, beginning with this week’s normal payroll cycle.  The objection filed is common in these situations and applies only to a small number of senior executives whose compensation will be addressed at an upcoming hearing on March 12th.”

WGN, Chicago to Air White Sox Games.  After 75 years, the Chicago White Sox are returning to WGN’s airwaves.  As you’re probably aware, Cumulus asked the bankruptcy court to let it out of contracts that were onerous and the WLS-AM/White Sox deal was one of them.  Now, for the first time since 1943, White Sox games will return to Tribune’s WGN starting with a spring training game on Friday, February 23.   In the booth will be former Sox pitcher Ed Farmer handling play-by-play and former outfielder Darrin Jackson as analyst.  WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “What an honor it is to join the White Sox family.  Summer starts TODAY on WGN Radio.”

WOR Names Ray Martel to Executive Producer Role for Mets Broadcasts.  New York radio pro Ray Martel – currently the associate producer for WOR, New York’s “Len Berman in the Morning” show – is named executive producer for New York Mets radio broadcasts and “Sports Zone with Pete McCarthy,” effective March 1.  Martel says, “I am extremely honored to be the next producer of the Mets broadcasts on 710 WOR.  When I began in broadcasting 20 years ago, one of my first positions was as a board-op working on the Mets broadcasts.  It’s amazing to think it’s come full-circle two decades later…I can’t wait for the season to start!”  Prior to his arrival at WOR, Martel was a producer at crosstown sports talker WFAN for 13 years.  He produced for Mike Francesa, Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson.  He also produced for ESPN Radio.  Martel takes over for Joe Curci, who is leaving on February 28 for a position outside of radio.

Lauer Named Director of Sales for Entercom Milwaukee. Radio sales pro Eric Lauer is appointed to the director of sales position at Entercom’s Milwaukee station group that includes sports talk WSSP/W289CB “105.7 FM/AM 1250 The Fan,” CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” and hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix.”  Lauer was most recently general sales manager at Scripps’ crosstown news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI.   Entercom Milwaukee/Madison SVP and market manager Chuck Sullivan says, “I have known Eric since he first arrived in the market and his passion, intellect and leadership skills were apparent immediately.  We feel very fortunate to have him partner with us to lead the Milwaukee team.”  Lauer has also held sales management roles with Cox Media Group in Florida and Georgia.

TALKERS News Notes. KIRO-FM, Seattle adds Gee Scott to the evening “KIRO Nights” program with co-host Zak Burns.  Scott moves to the new position from Bonneville’s sister sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” where he hosted the evening program.  He fills the seat vacated by Jason Rantz, who exited last fall to assume the morning drive show on the company’s local news/talk KTTH-AM…..The popular podcast from The New York Times, “The Daily,” is being produced as a 30-minute evening radio program distributed by American Public MediaMichael Barbaro will also host the radio version…..Also in Seattle, iHeartMedia is signing with the Major League Soccer club Seattle Sounders FC to serve as its flagship radio station for match play-by-play.  Games and related programming – that used to air on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM – will now air on KJR-AM.  Matt Johnson will call the matches along with rotating analysts Wade Webber, Danny Jackson, and Pete Fewing.

Cumulus Celebrates 40 Years of Steve Dahl with Billboard Campaign.  Radio personality Steve Dahl has been a part of Chicago radio for 40 years and Cumulus Media is honoring Dahl’s colorful career with a billboard campaign in Chicagoland.  Dahl is currently hosting afternoon drive on Cumulus’ news/talk WLS-AM.  The image above is part of the creative for the campaign and shows Dahl with the late John Belushi.

audioBoom and Triton Digital Merge.  This pairing is being termed a “reverse takeover” with Triton Digital merging with the UK-based audioBoom podcast network and technology provider.   audioBoom will acquire all of the stock of Triton Digital Canada for $185 million.  The new company will be called Triton Digital Group and will be publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange.  The executive structure will effectively remain in place with president/CEO Neal Schore, president/market development John Rosso, EVP/CFO Mark Rosenbaum, and SVP/ product and technology Alex FournierCurrent audioBoom CEO Rob Proctor becomes managing director of the audioBoom business unit.  He also remains an executive director.  Schore comments, “We’re proud of our position in the marketplace.  We feel an enormous sense of responsibility to continuously innovate and to drive monetization opportunities.  Our clients can expect us to not only maintain our leadership position, but to have the resources and the team to expand our technology and services meaningfully.”  audioboom currently hosts more than 12,000 content channels, with U.S. content partners including: Cumulus Media, Westwood One, and the Associated Press.  The transaction is expected to close in late March or early April.

Rob Porter White House Exit/John Kelly Status, Russia Election Interference, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Trump/Stormy Daniels Matter, U.S. Strikes in Syria, Netanyahu Criminal Allegations, PyeongChang Winter Games, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13).  The aftermath of Rob Porter’s exit from the White House after allegations of spousal abuse and questions about chief of staff John Kelly’s job security; U.S. intel concerns about Russian influence in 2018 mid-term elections; a judge refuses to allow DACA to be shut down and the related Trump Administration policy on immigration; Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen reveals he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket; U.S. military strikes in Syria allegedly kill Russian mercenaries; Israeli investigators say Benjamin Netanyahu should be indicted on corruption charges; the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Deborah Norville to Host BFoA’s Golden Mike Award Ceremony.  Television’s Deborah Norville is hosting the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2018 Golden Mike Award honoring Graham Media president and CEO Emily Barr on March 5 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Also, at this event Pat McLaughlin will accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her late husband, Ed McLaughlin, who is credited with discovering Rush Limbaugh and was the founder of EFM Media Management.  Ed McLaughlin was chairman emeritus of the Broadcasters Foundation when he passed away last month.  This annual event is one of the biggest fundraisers in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to provide aid to broadcasters in acute need.

WIOV, Lancaster’s ‘Murph’ Dies Unexpectedly at 61. Sad news out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania as Cumulus Media reports that WIOV-FM “I-105” morning personality Jerry Murphy – half of the “Murph & Casey” program with Casey Allyn – died unexpectedly at the age of 61.  The duo had worked together on “I-105” for the past 19 years.  Station PD Rich Creeger says, “Murph was not only one of the most charismatic personalities I had the pleasure of working with, but he was also a great friend.  I will miss him tremendously.”  The station has set up a tribute to Murph on the station website at wiov.com.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Appointed to take over management of Spanish Broadcasting System’s New York operations is Maire Mason.  She’s the new VP/GM for Spanish music outlets WSKQ-FM “Mega 97.9FM” and WPAT-FM “Amor 93.1FM.”  Mason, who most recently worked for Cumulus as ​VP/GM in New York, takes over for Eric Garcia who recently exited to join Univision…..Nate Reed is named operations manager for Cox Media Group’s Tulsa cluster.  CMG market VP Cathy Gunther comments, “Nate’s commitment to strong programming will continue to set our stations apart from our competitors.  He has been a natural leader at our radio properties and now, with all our platforms working together, he will be integral part of our new leadership team.”…..Yes, it happened on Valentine’s Day!  Cumulus Media appoints Chad Valentine program director for CHR WBHT, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.  Valentine was most recently with iHeartMedia as air personality, APD, and music director for CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100.”  Valentine says, “I’m excited to be here and ready to make some great radio for Northeast PA.  I’m proud to be part of the next chapter of WBHT’s evolution.”…..Mid-West Family Broadcasting South Bend general manager Jim Roberts leaves the company after almost 22 years to become the national account manager at Cleveland-based Futuri Media.  Roberts had served as GM of the South Bend station group since 2011…..Pictured at right are Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (right) and Premiere’s SVP, talent and brand integration Rick Murray (left) chatting with country star Sara Evans (center) as she kicked off the “CMT Next Women of Country” tour at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City on February 12.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

| January 31, 2018

Talking with Kellyanne Conway at the White House Radio RowTalk40.com News publisher Bryan Crabtree (center) and conservative media figure Robyn Walensky (right) interview White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway (left) at today’s (1/31) White House radio row.  Crabtree tells TALKERS the administration-sponsored event at the Old Executive Office Building “included a few strategic radio and blogging hosts to be able to speak with cabinet and top White House officials in order to react to the State of the Union.”  Some of the other administration officials who took part included: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, among others.

It’s Official: WSCR Grabs Bulls by the Horns.  Seeking to shed unprofitable contracts, Chapter 11-ensconced Cumulus Media asked the bankruptcy court to allow it out of a number of deals that are losing money, including its WLS-AM, Chicago contracts to air Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox games.  Now, one of those contracts is void after the Bulls and Entercom agreed to terms to air the NBA club’s games on its sports talk WSCR “The Score.”  The announcement was made on this morning’s “Mully & Hanley” show with market manager Jimmy de Castro and operations director Mitch Rosen breaking the news.  The first Bulls game on WSCR will air on Saturday (2/3) as they play at the LA Clippers.  The question that remains is where will the White Sox end up?  At Tribune’s WGN, at ESPN’s WMVP, or somewhere else?  Stay tuned.

WXDE, Salisbury-Ocean City, Delaware Adds Talk Pro Ed Tyll to New Program Lineup.  Salisbury-Ocean City news/talker WXDE, Lewes “Delaware 105.9” announces another addition to its new lineup as talk radio pro Ed Tyll joins to host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Recent arrival Rob Sussman is hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart.  Sussman had been serving at KBUR, Burlington, Iowa as news director.  Station programmer Dan Gaffney continues as morning personality and Susan Monday – whose show is simulcast to Delmarva Broadcasting sister station WDEL, Wilmington – airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.   Gaffney states, “Ed Tyll is one of the most passionate talk show hosts I have heard and it is exciting to hear his energy blasting out of the speakers from WXDE.  And, if anyone ever wanted to know where the next generation of great talk show host talent is, we have that too in 26-year-old Rob Sussman!”

TALKERS News Notes.  The January cable news/talk numbers are in and, according to a report by TVNewser, FOX News Channel’s Sean Hannity led all competitors in total viewer average with 3.27 million.  FNC had seven of the top 10 cable news/talk shows in January in total viewer average – Tucker Carlson finished #3 and Laura Ingraham’s “The Ingraham Angle” was #4.  In the adults 25-54 demo, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was #1, edging FNC’s Sean Hannity 678,000 to 660,000.  The rest of the adults 25-54 top five were “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (597,000), “Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (518,000), and “The Ingraham Angle” (504,000)…..Former FOX News Channel and Talk Radio Network star Andrea Tantaros is continuing her legal battle against FNC, now claiming that the late Roger Ailes used a closed circuit video system to view female staffers changing their clothes in the wardrobe department.  This amended complaint is part of Tantaros’ ongoing allegation that FNC engaged in retaliation against her.  For its part, FOX replied to the report in The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “Fox News moved for sanctions against the lawyer who filed Andrea Tantaros’ original lawsuit and he has since withdrawn.  None of the four lawyers currently representing Tantaros in the action signed her new complaint, which she purports to have written herself.  Her outlandish claims lack any factual basis.”

Jim Bohannon Celebrates 25 Years of Nightly Program.  Nationally syndicated late-night talk show host Jim Bohannon is pictured above celebrating his 25th anniversary hosting his eponymous Westwood One radio talk show.  Bohannon took over the time slot back on January 29, 1993 from Larry King.  Bohannon’s staff surprised him with a special celebratory broadcast that included: a customized montage, a surprise call-in greeting from Larry King, plus congratulatory messages from Westwood One personalities Dennis Miller, Charles Osgood, and Michael Savage.   Check out the audio here.  Westwood One EVP news & talk Bart Tessler comments, “It’s been a highlight of my career working with Jim over a very fast 25 years and producing programs with him across the country and around the world.  Jim Bohannon has long been the standard bearer for a great talk show host: intelligent, informed, passionate, and funny. Congratulations to Jim on a superb 25 years.”

1,000 Smackeroos for PodcastOne Staffers.  In celebration of the new corporate tax rate, PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz announces the company is awarding $1,000 bonuses to all of the company’s full-time employees.  Pattiz says, “There’s no question that cutting the corporate federal tax rate to 21% will have a positive effect on business, ours included.  We want our employees to feel the direct benefit of these cuts, especially since because of their efforts we are coming off another record year in 2017.  So, we say, ‘Thank you’ to our dedicated staff and ‘job well done.’”

State of the Union Address, Trump-Russia Probe, Andrew McCabe Resignation, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, FISA Abuses Memo, U.S.-Turkey-Russia Relations, Flu Epidemic, Anti-Military Teacher Rant, Super Blue Blood Moon, and Super Bowl LII Among News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/30).  Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe resigns from his position under pressure from President Trump; the status of the Obama-era DACA Act and the Trump administration’s immigration policy; the House Intelligence Committee’s vote to release a memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department; the tenuous relations between the U.S. and Turkey over the latter’s attacks on Kurds in Northern Syria and Russia’s involvement in Turkish policy in Syria; the flu epidemic that’s sweeping the U.S.; the viral video of a Los Angeles-area teacher’s rant about U.S. military policy in which he called U.S. soldiers “the lowest of the low”; Wednesday’s rare “super blue blood moon”; and Sunday’s Super Bowl LII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cox Media Group Joins Trustworthy Accountability Group.  In an effort to improve transparency and combat criminal activity in digital advertising, Cox Media Group announces it is now a participant in the TAG Registry by the Trustworthy Accountability Group.  TAG is a digital industry program created to fight fraudulent traffic and improve transparency in the digital ecosystem.  TAG Registered companies have been verified as legitimate participants in the digital advertising industry through a proprietary background check and review process powered by Dun & Bradstreet and approved by TAG.  TAG Registration is also the baseline requirement for companies to apply for TAG’s four certification programs around fighting fraudulent traffic, stopping ad-supported piracy, reducing malware, and improving transparency.  Vice president of CMGdigital Joe Weir comments, “Reliable data, transparency, and a brand safe environment are very important to Cox Media Group.  We are committed to delivering quality inventory for our advertisers and our participation in the TAG Registry is a sign of that commitment. The digital ad supply chain is very complex and can be challenging to navigate. The TAG Registry is an important tool for companies to confirm they are doing businesses with legitimate counterparties in the digital advertising space.”

Doing Relief Aid in Haiti.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network vice president news & talk programming Tom Tradup with a group of children in Citi de Soleil, Haiti.  Tradup is working with the relief organization Food For The Poor.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career MovesRAMP24/7.com reports that KINK, Portland program director and afternoon drive host Sean Demery is recovering from a brain-stem stroke suffered on January 20.  Demery has been programming the Alpha Media triple A station since March of last year.  RAMP published the following: “It is with heavy hearts but positive spirits that the family and friends of Sean Demery…would like to inform you of his recent medical issue.  Sean suffered a brain-stem stroke on January 20.  We are told that Sean’s spirits are good, as he’s been requesting his favorite bands, checking in on KINK daily, and conversing with family and friends and checking email and texts.  There is a long road to recovery ahead for Sean, and we ask for your continued support, positive thoughts and prayers. Sean’s wife Jennifer has asked that you check in on Sean’s Facebook page for updates and to post supportive messages, videos and photos for Sean.  We also ask that you respect the privacy of Sean’s family and please direct your messages, posts and well-wishes to the Facebook Group.  Hearing from his friends and listeners is the best therapy he can receive, so thank you!”…..Los Angeles CHR KAMP “97.1 AMP Radio” adds Chelsea Briggs to the morning show with Edgar Sotelo and Brian MooteEntercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman comments, “Chelsea is a social media superstar and we are thrilled to bring her unique personality to the new ‘AMP Morning Show’ with Edgar and Brian.  Their chemistry is unparalleled and I’m confident that the three of them will create sensational mornings for our listeners.”  Briggs has most recently been serving as a correspondent for Billboard News…..iHeartMedia and KGB, San Diego morning personality Bob Buchman come to terms on a contract extension to keep him working alongside Coe Lewis on the classic rock morning station.  KGP program director Shauna Moran states, “Bob has been a vital piece of our programming puzzle here in San Diego and we look forward to more successful years.  Bob and Coe have been a favorite of the rock radio morning commute and we are excited that it will continue.”…..Chelsea Alayne is the new morning host at Sun Broadcasting’s rock WXNX, Fort Myers “93X.”  She takes over the daypart from Spam, who exited in December of 2017.

CHR KZIA, Cedar Rapids Owner Killed in Deadly Auto Crash.  According to a report by KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids, KZIA Inc. owner Robert Norton Jr. was driving the wrong way on I-380 when he struck a car driven by 28-year-old Jennifer Koenighain.  Both were declared dead at the scene.  Norton’s company owned and operated CHR KZIA “Z102.9,” sports KGYM, and adult hits KZIA-HD2/K236AA.

Monday, January 15, 2018

| January 15, 2018

Stunner: KGO’s Owens Transitions from Host to Commentator. At the conclusion of last Friday’s (1/12) program on Cumulus Media San Francisco’s news/talk KGO, Ronn Owens revealed the plug has been pulled on his 42-year “Ronn Owens Show” in favor of a daily, ten-minute “Ronn Owens Report,” which debuts tomorrow (Tuesday, 1/16) at 12:50 pm. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, “A test version included commentary on president [Donald] Trump’s vulgar reference to Haiti and African nations, as well as whether a work requirement should be imposed on able-bodied food stamp recipients.” Owens tells the paper that his “goal” with the weekday commentary “is to be a 2018 version of Paul Harvey and Andy Rooney.” Two years ago, Cumulus Media announced it would move Owens from KGO to co-owned news/talk KSFO, a decision that was reversed one month later. The most recent contract for the 72-year-old Owens expired in December; he reportedly didn’t expect it to be renewed at the same salary level. A 2015 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee, Owens apparently isn’t the only KGO on-air talent off the weekday schedule. On Facebook, 2:00 – 4:00 pm host Brian Copeland writes that his show has been scrubbed; Copeland states management would like him to remain with the station in some capacity. Although unconfirmed, KGO’s revised weekday on-air lineup is believed to be: Armstrong & Getty (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Ethan Bearman (10:00 am – 12:50 pm); Owens (12:50 pm – 1:00 pm); a simulcast from Los Angeles sibling KABC of Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); and Chip Franklin (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).

Nashville’s “Zone” Expands Local Coverage. Changes extending local dayparts on Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk/Tennessee Titans flagship WGFX “104.5 The Zone” go into effect today (Monday, 1/15). Program director Brad Willis states that “The Zone” has “long been Nashville’s preeminent sports station. In an effort to devote more time to Nashville’s continually evolving sports landscape, we feel it is time that we are all local, all day long. I look forward to having our team cover the teams and sports that are important to Nashville nonstop from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm every weekday.” Hosts of the (now 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) “Midday 180” show Chad Withrow, Jonathan Hutton, and Paul Kuharsky have been signed to multi-year contracts and they state, “We are looking forward to loading up with even more great interviews with important people, giving more commentary on the local teams and the issues of the day. Our commitment remains the same: In and out of season, we will crush on a daily basis.” Meanwhile, Brent Dougherty, Mickey Ryan, and Dawn Davenport of the lengthened 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm “3HL” program add, “Nashville sports fans are the best in the country and we are excited about the opportunity to spend more time with them. During that time, we plan to continue to focus heavily on the sports and storylines that are most important to our listeners.” The Mark Howard, Kevin Ingram, and Blaine Bishop-hosted “Wake Up Zone” continues daily from 6:00 am -10:00 am.

“Whoa Nellie” – The Passing of Keith Jackson. If you ever watched a college football game on television, you knew the unmistakable voice and style of Keith Jackson and his trademark catch-phrase, “Whoa Nellie.” The legendary play-by-play man for the first season of ABC-TV’s “Monday Night Football” and at the microphone for a variety of other sports, 89-year-old Jackson died Friday (1/12) in Los Angeles. ABC parent Walt Disney Company chief executive Robert Iger succinctly states, “For generations of fans, Keith was college football.” While Jackson worked on ten Summer and Winter Olympics and on “ABC’s Wide World of Sports,” his resume includes radio, as well. The western Georgian native joined the Marines as a teenager, then attended Washington State University, where he received a degree in broadcast journalism in 1954. Jackson spent ten years at KOMO, Seattle in news, sports and production, before becoming sports director of ABC Radio West. He began broadcasting college football for ABC Sports in 1966. The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named him “Sportscaster of the Year” five consecutive times (1972 to 1976). Working a largely regional schedule close to his Southern California home, Jackson retired after broadcasting the 2006 Rose Bowl game.

Terry Takes Commentary to KKNT. Longtime Phoenix on-air personality Terry Gilberg joins Salem Media Group news/talk KKNT “960 The Patriot” in the Valley of the Sun to do “Terry’s Take.” According to KKNT general manager Jim Ryan, “Terry Gilberg delivers compelling commentary, capsulized in a nutshell – a dose of reality and common sense delivered daily with reason and passion. She covers what you are thinking and what you are feeling. It is timely talk and we are happy to have her points of view.” Some of Gilberg’s favorite subjects include media bias; housing and education in America; socialized medicine; and national security. In addition to her new duties at “The Patriot,” journalist-turned-talk host Gilberg continues hosting/producing Radio America’s two-hour “Think! America,” which airs in 53 markets. Prior to doing talk radio, Gilberg was a television news anchor.

 News-Gazette Media Continues U.I. Pact. The renewed partnership – that has spanned more than three decades – keeps University of Illinois athletics on News-Gazette Media Champaign (Illinois) WDWS “News Talk 1400” and co-owned adult contemporary WHMS “Lite Rock 97.5.” News-Gazette Media chief executive office and publisher John Reed remarks, “We are proud to continue our long-standing partnership with UI Athletics and Fighting Illini Sports Properties. The fast-paced world of college athletics is a part of our business where we have consistently invested in top-tier talent for our organization. I am personally thrilled with the opportunity to continue working with two entities who share the same philosophy. The future looks bright for ‘The Fighting Illini,’ and we very much look forward to being a part of it.” According to Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman, “We are pleased to continue our long-time relationship with News-Gazette Media and WDWS and WHMS. Fighting Illini fans in the Champaign-Urbana area have known for decades that those stations are the radio homes to our games; this new agreement will increase the presence of our programs even more.” Over 150 live events a year will be aired, including football; men’s and women’s basketball; baseball; and women’s volleyball. Football and men’s basketball will be simulcast on the two stations, while baseball, women’s volleyball, and select softball games will be carried on WDWS.

TALKERS News Notes. In response to a high volume of requests, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) extends the call for entries for the 43rd annual Gracie Awards to next Thursday (1/25) at 11:59 pm (ET). Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair Sarah Foss states, “Now, more than ever, we need to celebrate women for their exceptional work and contributions, especially in the media industry.” The Gracies recognize programming created by, for, and about women in radio, television, cable and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local, and student markets, including both commercial and non-commercial outlets. Qualified judges are chosen by AWMF leadership after meeting specific published criteria ….. San Diego sports talk host, television sports anchor/weathercaster C.S. Keys died Saturday (1/13) in La Mesa. Most recently, Keys hosted a weekend show for Interamericana de Radio sports talk XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090,” San Diego. The station’s program director, Mike Shepard, writes, “All of us at ‘The Mighty 1090’ are stunned and saddened by the untimely passing of our teammate, C.S. Keys. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his fans, and the San Diego sports community at this difficult time.” According to La Mesa police, the death was not suspicious, but it was not yet clear how Keys died. Keys previously was a weathercaster at San Diego television outlet KUSI-TV; sports anchor at cross-town XETV-TV; and worked on-air at KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh and WTVD, Raleigh. He was 54 years old and is survived by two sons and a daughter … Those expecting to hear Marc “Beetle” Bertrand on Saturday’s (1/13) AFC Divisional playoff pre-game show prior to the New England PatriotsTennessee Titans showdown, heard Chris Gasper instead. “Beetle” couldn’t fulfill his duties on Entercom-owned Patriots flagship WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub,” but had a legitimate reason that was nearly tragic. On Saturday at 6:37 pm (ET), he posted on Facebook, “I am lucky to be alive. I was involved in a motor vehicle crash in Norwood [Massachusetts] on my way to [Gillette Stadium in] Foxboro. While driving down the road, another car exited a parking lot on a straight line at full speed and struck the passenger side of my Dodge Ram. I only saw the car for a split second before going for a [rollercoaster] ride when my truck rolled and eventually came to a stop on its side. For reasons I cannot explain, I am relatively okay. I did sustain injuries but I have already been released from the hospital. I cannot express in words how thankful I am for the Norwood fire/EMS and police departments. They were on the scene in what seemed like seconds. I was trapped in the truck and NFD worked quickly to free me with the jaws of life. They do amazing work like this every single day. Thank you to all my ‘Sports Hub’ colleagues for covering for me, especially Chris Gasper who hosted pre-game on very short notice. I hope I’m talking to everybody again on the radio this week. Go Pats! Beetle.” As for Saturday’s game, the Patriots defeated the Titans by three touchdowns, 35-14 ….. WOWO, Fort Wayne, and WBAT, Marion (Indiana) talk show host and current president of internet talk station Indiana Talks, Gary Snyder, files paperwork to run for the Democratic nomination for the State Senate in Indiana’s 17th district. Snyder ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for a county council seat in the November 2008 general election, months after he lost the May 2008 primary for a state representative seat in which he ran as a Republican. He lost a bid for county clerk in 2010 as a Republican.

Hawaii False Alarm “Totally Unacceptable.” What proved to be an incorrect alert sounded on hundreds of thousands of cellphones across Hawaii this past Saturday (1/13), warning residents to seek shelter because of an inbound ballistic missile threat. In a statement issued yesterday (Sunday, 1/14) regarding that incident, FCC chairman Ajit Pai notes, “The false emergency alert sent in Hawaii was absolutely unacceptable. It caused a wave of panic across the state – worsened by the 38-minute delay before a correction alert was issued. Based on the information we have collected so far, it appears that the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert.” The erroneous alert was reportedly caused by Hawaii Emergency Management Agency administrator Vern Miyagi “pushing the wrong button.” Miyagi took responsibility for the mistake, stating the error happened during a shift change around 8:00 am. Pai said officials at all levels needed to identify vulnerabilities, and that the FCC would look into steps “to prevent a similar incident.” Working with the FCC to investigate the issue, Democratic Senator Brian Schatz remarks, “This system failed miserably. We need to improve it and get it right.” According to a CBS News report, Miyagi – who has been with the agency for ten years – was re-assigned within the emergency operations center.

Remembering Lisa McKay. After a brief battle with cancer, Curtis Media Group vice president of radio/program director of Raleigh’s WQDR “94.7 – Today’s Best Country” Lisa McKay (Blake) passed away peacefully yesterday (1/14) morning. Curtis Media Group President/COO Trip Savery notes, “It is with very heavy hearts that we share the news of Lisa’s passing. She had a tremendous and positive impact on so many people’s lives and careers, and will be greatly missed by all of us. Please send your love, support, and prayers to Lisa and her family.” Word of McKay’s death comes just two days after it was announced she would be taking an indefinite leave of absence, owing to medical reasons. In what proved to be her last message, McKay remarked, “I am grateful beyond belief for the opportunity given to me by Curtis Media Group; I know this team will continue to excel.” Scores and scores of tributes already populate McKay’s Facebook page, with virtually all conveying the same sentiment of a remarkably talented, caring programmer. Distinguished Cleveland and Akron-area program director Sue Wilson (Cordle) vice president of operations for the Rubber City Radio Group, reflects, “I admired her so much, not only as a tremendous programmer but as a lovely person. I had only been at WQMX [Akron] a short while and met her on an industry trip. There were very few women program directors in [the] country [format]; I was so impressed by her knowledge and talent. I connected with her then and followed her continued success. Our industry lost an incredible talent and our country music family will miss her so much. Things like this put life in perspective. How precious it is and that we have no time to waste. Deepest sympathy to her family and friends and to all of us who will mourn her loss.” Operations manager of SummitMedia Richmond Mel Chase laments, “My heart is in a million pieces right now. When Lisa McKay took someone under her wing, you knew you were in a special place. I wouldn’t have a career in radio without her love and nurturing. Lisa saw something in me when I was an intern that I never saw and she made sure I worked hard to make radio my career – even hiring me for my first job. She was my constant reminder that a leader doesn’t bark orders, they dive in, get their hands dirty and share the work with the team. She’s the absolute best, no one is on her level. Lisa changed my whole world and I will forever be indebted to her for everything I have because of her patience, kindness and love.” The program director of iHeartMedia Boston urban AC WKAF, Chris Malone, states, “Lisa played a big role in my career, I’d go as far to say I’d still be a kid in my hometown working to make ends meet until she came along. Lisa opened the door for me in Raleigh and graciously held my hand through my first ‘on the road PD gig.’ Her kindness and warmth could be felt from the moment I met her. On my interview, she said, ‘Here take my car while I’m on air and get to know the town.’ At age 24, I thought who would say this? That’s just how she treated those who were fortunate enough to know her. It’s a badge of honor to have known Lisa, work for her, and learn from one of the brightest, creative, [tenacious] programmers in the business. So many good memories, generous gifts, and valuable lessons that I’ll hold on to forever.” Veteran programmer Chris Shebel remarks, “We were competitors during my time in Raleigh. Lisa is a first-class programmer who built a great station and genuinely cared about the country community and the ‘Triangle.’ Condolences to her family and colleagues. I’m sure there is much sadness today, but she will be remembered for many great things.” According to Kevin Kolbie, “A few months ago, I got the opportunity to be back on the radio at WQDR. Lisa was the one who took the chance on me. Over the years, Lisa and I went from clients to friends and finally to co-workers. After my first air-shift, I asked her if she had any advice. She smiled and said, ‘Just have fun.’ Even as I type the words, it’s still hard to comprehend [that she has died].” Recently-arrived to do mornings at Curtis Media Group adult hits WBBB, Morgan Thomas comments, “RIP, my sweet friend. To work with you again was a major reason I came back to Raleigh. I am just so grateful you are no longer in pain. ‘Fly away my sweet bird over the land.’” McKay-programmed WQDR was the Country Music Association (CMA) large market “Station of the Year” in 2017.

PPM Analysis: December 2017’s Ups & Downs.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a December 2017 ratings overview “Extra” as he examines the impact made by stations that transitioned to all-Christmas music. See which formats benefitted the most this sweep and which were negatively impacted. In addition to scoring honors for largest (6+) November 2017 – December 2017 improvement (+6.6), Bonneville Salt Lake City adult contemporary KSFI boasts the largest 6+-share of any station in the 48 PPM-markets (13.6). Approximately half of the adult contemporary properties that improve by at least one full-share (November 2017 – December 2017, 6+) wind up finishing first. There are market-by-market breakouts, as well as a comparison chart of November 2017 versus December 2017 market ranks. See Mike Kinosian’s extensive report here.

SBS, Grupo Radio Centro Interference Lawsuit Resolved. An agreement has been reached to settle a long-standing lawsuit involving Spanish Broadcasting System and Grupo Radio Centro. Nearly two years ago, SBS filed a multi-million-dollar grievance, alleging tortious interference and unfair competition when Grupo hired air personality Martin Romero Hernandez (“El Raton”) from SBS Los Angeles regional Mexican KLAX “97.9 La Raza.” Hernandez left “La Raza” in January 2016 to join cross-town competitor – Grupo’s KXOS “Radio Centro 93.9.” SBS claimed Grupo attracted Hernandez by recruiting and soliciting his entire “La Raza” morning team to move with him to “Radio Centro,” despite SBS having him under contract through 2020 and having matched the GRC offer. Spanish Broadcasting System general counsel Richard Lara comments, “We are extremely pleased to have amicably resolved the matter. As has always been its practice, SBS will not hesitate to take legal action when necessary to defend its contractual rights and business interests.” The settlement is confidential; terms cannot be disclosed.

FLR Names Mike Kankelfritz PD/Afternoon Driver. After ending a nearly six-year run in November as morning show co-host on Educational Media Foundation Indianapolis contemporary Christian WKLU “Positive and Encouraging K-Love,” Mike Kankelfritz joins Tucson-based Family Life Radio as program director and afternoon drive talent. FLR’s chief broadcast engagement officer Sally Barton comments, “Mike’s professional and personal reputation testifies to his faithful love and care for God’s people. We see God’s timing in the journey that brought Mike and his family to us, and we’re eager to see him use his extensive experience and creativity to share the message of hope in Christ.” Kankelfritz adds, “The Family Life Radio team felt like family from the minute I walked in the door. When I learned that the backbone of this network came from Dr. Randy Carlson’s vision of intentional living, I realized that his principles were already a part of my DNA. I am so excited to help more people connect to God in a deeper way through this amazing ministry of Family Life Radio.” Listener-supported Family Life Radio has approximately 40 affiliates. Prior to joining WKLU in 2011, Seattle native and John Brown University graduate Kankelfritz spent six years at Houston contemporary Christian KSBJ and three years at KXOJ, Tulsa.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The producer of the 5:30 am – 10:00 am “Mo! Show” on Hubbard Phoenix alternative KDKB “Alt AZ 93.3” – Dayton Banas – fills the station’s promotions director opening ….. Five-year KOLA, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario morning co-host Irma Blanco steps down from the Anaheim Broadcasting classic hits-oldies outlet to spend more time with her family. Blanco and co-host Jesse Duran made the announcement on-air last Friday (1/12) ….. Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, 1/16), “Stacey & Jonah” take over afternoon drive duties on Hubbard Radio St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3.” For the last six years, Stacey K Boyer & Jonah Griss-Bush did mornings on KHTH “Hot 101.7,” Santa Rosa (California), an Amaturo Sonoma Media Group CHR outlet that Boyer programmed. WIL program director Scott Roddy comments, “While most radio companies are reducing local talent, Hubbard is adding to our stable of show hosts. Stacey and Jonah’s charm, wit and humor make them the perfect companion while sitting in traffic on Highway 40 during the drive home.” Stacey & Jonah add, “We are so excited to join the Hubbard family and ‘New Country 92.3.’ It is an honor to join a company that believes in people and talent.” ….. Following eight years with Bonneville Sacramento hot AC KZZO “Now 100.5,” assistant program director/music director Sonia Jimenez takes on music director responsibilities for co-owned KNCI “New Country 105.1.” Bonneville Sacramento vice president of programming Chad Rufer states, “Sonia is a true pro – one of the best out there.” ….. Columbus alternative WWCD “CD-102.5” program director and “The Stash” host Mase Brazelle replaces afternoon driver Lesley James, who left the station approximately two weeks ago ….. Songwriter/pianist Jim Brickman adds four affiliates for his four-hour lifestyle/music/interviews program, which features co-hosts “Brynne” and “Bob.” New to the show are WWFW “Sunny 103.9,” Fort Wayne (Indiana); WZIM “Magic 99.5,” Peoria (Illinois); WNCV “Coast 93.3,” Fort Walton Beach (Florida); and KMWX “Mix 92.5,” Abilene (Texas).

Never Be The Same. After a performance on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” to mark the release of her debut solo album (“Camila,” which includes the single “Never Be The Same”), singer Camila Cabello (left) chats with ABC Radio’s Andrea Dresdale.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

| January 10, 2018

Joe ‘Pags’ Show Hits 100-Affiliate Mark.  The nationally syndicated “Joe Pags Show” arrives at the 100-affiliate mark with the addition of KPAM, Portland to its affiliate roster.  Joe Pagliarulo’s WOAI, San Antonio-based program is syndicated by Compass Media NetworksSalem Media Group SVP/spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Years ago a young TV anchor in Albany called me to ask how he could get into talk radio.  That was Joe Pags.  I figured it was a passing fantasy, but no, he was serious.  What an honor to be his 100th affiliate in Portland at our newest talk station.  Our listeners there are in for a real treat.  And congrats Joe, you made it!”  Pags adds, “It’s an absolute thrill to add such a great station like KPAM in a top market like Portland!  For this powerhouse to also be my 100th affiliate and to once again be working with Phil Boyce is truly humbling.”

Save the Date – TALKERS 2018 Set for NYC.  The date has been set for the 21st annual installment of the longest-running and most important national talk media industry convention.  TALKERS 2018 will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City.  Initial details covering venue, registration and sponsorship information will be posted here on Talkers.com this Friday.  Save the date, this promises to be one of the most exciting and dynamic installments in the history of this iconic radio-oriented event.

Rob Stadler Gone From Mornings at WYAY, Atlanta. As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, Cumulus Media’s WYAY-FM, Atlanta “News Radio 106.7” parted ways with Rob Stadler – host of the morning news program – at the end of 2017.  Ho reports that WYAY program director Tom Lee has not named a successor to the Stadler-hosted program, but Ho suspects the new program will be more of a talk show than a news show.  This for the station that launched in 2012 as an all-news outlet.  Talk radio pros Mike Brooks and Rob Carson have been filling in hosting the AM drive program.  For his part, Stadler told Ho in a text, “The last two years have been a lot of fun, but my sights are now set on a new position that doesn’t require a 1 a.m. wake-up!  Can’t talk about it right now but soon…I sincerely wish the talk and news talent at WYAY-FM the very best for future success!”

KKFN, Denver Adds More Local Content.  There’s more local sports talk on Bonneville’s KKFN-FM, Denver “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” with the extension of the “Pritchard and Cecil” program and the addition of a Sandy Clough-hosted evening show.  Well-known Denver sports voice Sandy Clough begins hosting a 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm program on January 16.  Effective immediately, the “Pritchard and Cecil” program – co-hosted by Mike Pritchard and Cecil Lammey – is airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  KKFN program director Armen Williams states, “Broncos country and the Denver sports community has shown us there’s a clear demand from ‘104.3 The Fan’ for more local sports talk.  We’re excited to give our audience even more of an opportunity to feed their passion on a daily basis.  It’s something they both yearn for and deserve.  Sandy Clough is an institution in the Denver sports radio market.  In the evening, Denver sports fans are looking for an outlet, and having Sandy on from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm will allow him to not only give perspective on Broncos headlines but also provide postgame reaction to the Rockies, Nuggets, Avalanche, and other Denver sports events.”

Longtime WGN, Chicago Talk Host Milt Rosenberg Passes at 92.  Legendary Chicago radio host Milt Rosenberg died yesterday (1/9) after complications from pneumonia at the age of 92.  Rosenberg was a University of Chicago psychology professor who hosted the evening “Extension 720” program on Tribune’s WGN from 1973 through his “forced retirement” in 2012.  Read Chicago media writer Robert Feder’s obit for Rosenberg here.

Report from CES 2018.  Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas at the enormous CES 2018, presented by the Consumer Technology Association.  He’s filing reports from Sin City in TALKERS magazine all week.  Check out his notes from yesterday’s action here.

PodcastOne and AP Team Up for Sports Coverage.  A new relationship between PodcastOne SportsNet and AP promises to provide reports from national and international sporting events, beginning with the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month.  This deal also includes new PodcastOne and AP content, with some premiering as soon as this week.  Additionally, “Red Circle Sports with Dennis Miller,” “Riggle’s Picks,” “Real GM” and others will be added to PodcastOne SportsNet lineup.  PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz says, “This will provide AP and PodcastOne subscribers with real-time, daily news reports, commentary and original content. It will provide additional power to the explosive growth of podcasting, while taking maximum advantage of the unmatched connection to listeners that podcasts already provide.  AP Sports is everywhere with on-the-ground, first-hand coverage that will now be available via podcasts as never before.”  Content produced by AP and PodcastOne SportsNet will be distributed on AP platforms, as well as PodcastOne.com and the PodcastOne app.

Brendan Carr Nominated for Full FCC Term.  Republican FCC commissioner Brendan Carr is being nominated for a full, five-year term on the Commission.  Based on comments from fellow commissioners – including FCC chairman Ajit Pai – Carr has the support of the rest of the commission.  New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella says in a supportive statement to Senator Cory Booker, “To be sure, Commissioner Carr is a dedicated public servant.  He has been a very responsive and concerned FCC Commissioner, sensitive to the issues brought to his attention by the NJBA.  Moreover, his courteous response to our communications translates to his committed staff and we are grateful for their service to our great industry.”

TALKERS News Notes.  The latest station to add the Radio America-syndicated “Chad Benson Show” is Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix.  Radio America says KTAR-FM joins a growing list of affiliates that includes KSTE-AM, Sacramento; WIBC-FM, Indianapolis; WDBO-FM, Orlando; KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa; and KTSA-AM, San Antonio among others. Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch comments, “Chad is an incredible talent who will talk about the political headwinds in America, plus deliver his unique views on other real-life issues that the Valley cares about.  From the economy to social media, to different things working people experience daily, he is a wonderful storyteller on a mission to entertain.  We’re also excited to be partnering with the team at Radio America as they continue to deliver the best of the next generation of talk programming.”…..Saga Communications’ Cayuga Radio Group names John Summers brand manager and news director for news/talk WHCU, Ithaca, New York, effective January 22.  Summers was most recently regional program director and news director for Northwest News Radio Network and the Washington Ag Network…..With the decision by Breitbart News to part ways with Stephen K. Bannon – who served briefly with the Trump Administration as a senior adviser to the president – his work hosting the “Breitbart News Radio” program that airs on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel also ends.  SiriusXM announced the separation yesterday (1/9)…..AdLarge Media’s digital audio division for podcasting, streaming, and advertising – dubbed “cabana” – publishes its comprehensive, easy-to-understand guidebook to helping podcasters and their advertisers meet their marketing goals.   AdLarge says the report “includes a glossary of terms with clear, concise descriptions of the different advertising options in podcasting and spotlights how each of them can deliver specific benefits to a campaign.”

Trump DACA Rollback, Bannon-Breitbart Split, Fire and Fury Book, Trump Russia Dossier, De Niro Trump Rant, California Mud Slides, North-South Korea Talks, Arpaio Senate Run, Alabama Wins CFC in Overtime, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9).  The attempt by the Trump Administration to roll back the Obama-era DACA and a judge’s ruling to stay that move; Stephen K. Bannon splits from executive post at Breitbart News; the ongoing controversy over Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury book; the Donald Trump Russia dossier and the new suit by Trump lawyers against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS; actor Robert De Niro’s rant against President Trump at an awards ceremony; the deadly California mudslides; the talks between North and South Korea and South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s giving credit to President Trump for forcing the talks; former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio announces plans to run for U.S. Senate; Alabama beats Georgia in overtime to win the College Football Championship; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  The new morning show at Entercom Communications’ CHR KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio” is the duo of Edgar Sotelo and Brian Moote, effective February.  Entercom’s SVP/market manager Jeff Federman says, “We are thrilled to be able to bring together Edgar and Brian on ‘AMP Radio.’  Both of them are smart, genuine and funny and we look forward to watching them make a huge impact in LA – on air, on-site at local events and on social media.”  Edgar Sotelo previously served as the morning show host at WBMP, New York “AMP Radio.”  Brian Moote exited his gig with the Atlanta-based, syndicated “The Bert Show” to take this new gig…..RadioInfo sources in New York say Cumulus Media hot AC WPLJ has removed Rick Gillette from the program director role at the station.  We are also hearing that Gillette is being offered the chance to remain with the company in another capacity.  Assistant program director Mike Allan is now acting PD for “95.5 PLJ.”…..Rock programmer Garett Michaels joins Local Media San Diego’s alternative XTRA, San Diego “91X” as program director.  Michaels’ work in the San Diego market includes his most recent stint with Local Media San Diego and Midwest Television at rock KFM-BFM and almost 10 years programming alternative KBZT.  He also programmed alternative KNDD, Seattle “107.7 The End” from 2013 through 2015.  He says, “After spending the last year consulting and working with the team, I couldn’t be more excited to officially join Local Media San Diego.  It’s an honor to be a part of ‘91X,’ a station that represents the San Diego lifestyle, has deep roots serving our local community, and is truly one of the icons of the alternative format.”…..Speaking of Entercom’s alternative KBZT, San Diego, the station names Chris Patyk program director.  Patyk has been programming sister stations CHR KEGY “Energy” and adult contemporary KYXY…..The nationally syndicated Michael Baisden show announces it has hired award-winning broadcast journalist and radio personality Dominique DiPrima to serve as co-host.  She hosted the daily news and public affairs show “Front Page” on KJLH-FM, Los Angeles.  DiPrima will also hold the title of senior producer…..Canadian Music Week announces that Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley will be a featured speaker at the “A Radio Executive’s View” from the “Corner Office” Super Session on Friday, May 11 at the two-day Radio Interactive Summit taking place on May 10-11.

PPM Analysis: Country.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the 6+ ratings performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on country.  During this period – November 6 to December 9 – many music stations were adding Christmas music to their rotations and that could be a factor in the comparison of November 2017 data to December 2017 data.  Kinosian reports, “Approximately one of every four stations (26%) on our country sample is up between November 2017 – December 2017, while 63% experience decreases; the remaining 11% of the panel remains unchanged.  Comparing December 2016 to December 2017 ratings, “Roughly half the stations on this country panel are down year-to-year (49%) and nearly as many (43%) are up; the remaining 8% are steady.”  Two country outlets in PPM markets ranked #1 in their respective markets during the December 2017 survey – iHeartMedia’s WCOL, Columbus and WQIK, Jacksonville.  See the entire report here.

Monday, January 8, 2018

| January 8, 2018

Salem Media to Air Dino Costa-Hosted Sports Talk Show on ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in NYC.  The New York Daily NewsBob Raissman reports that Salem Media Group is bringing controversial sports talk personality Dino Costa to the Big Apple to host a sports talk show on conservative news/talk outlet WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”  The show will air from 12:00 midnight to 3:00 am and launches tonight (Tuesday, January 9).  Costa tells Raissman, “Obviously there is a lot of great sports radio in New York.  I feel privileged to be a part of the New York sports radio scene and I hope I can do my part to provide another option for sports fans looking for something a little bit different.”  Costa was most recently with Alpha Media’s sports talk KXTG-AM, Portland as afternoon personality.  He joined the station on June 5 but exited two months later after blowback from his on-air comments suggesting motorists should hit Black Lives Matter protesters who block roadways.  During his career, Costa also served with SiriusXM, hosting a program on the Mad Dog Radio channel.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on 6+ data from the December 2017 Nielsen Audio PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  As the NFL regular season winds down toward the playoffs, it’s not unusual to see the flagship stations of playoff-bound teams benefit in the ratings, and that appears to be the case again this year.  Comparing November 2017 data to December 2017, Kinosian says that “six of every 10 stations (60%) on this sports talk panel are down November 2017 – December 2017; 28% improve; and the remaining 12% are flat.”  When comparing station performances from December 2016 to December 2017, “54% of these eligible sports talk stations are up year-to-year, while 34% regress; the remaining 12% are unchanged from a year ago.”  Not a single sports talker ranked #1 (6+) in its market, but five stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets.  Both Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia and iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis ranked #2.  iHeartMedia’s WBZ-FM, Boston and Entercom’s WFAN, New York ranked #4 (WFAN achieved that in the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union counties), and Entercom’s WXYT-FM, Detroit ranked #5.  See Kinosian’s complete report here.

Premiere Networks’ George Noory Celebrates 15 Years as Host of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’  This month marks the 15th year George Noory has been host of the Premiere Networks nationally syndicated late-night show, “Coast to Coast AM.”  This broadcasting milestone comes on the heels of Noory’s renewed long-term contract with Premiere, signed last year.   Noory comments, “I’m so excited about starting year 16 with my same, amazing staff, dedicated advertisers and, of course, our faithful listeners worldwide.”  Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott says, “Entertaining millions of people in the middle of the night is no small feat, but George makes it look easy.  His passion and dedication to delivering the best content for the ‘Coast to Coast AM’ audience is what drives the continued growth and success of the program. We’re proud to celebrate this special milestone with George, and look forward to many more.”

TALKERS News Notes.  The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show gets underway this week in Las Vegas and iHeartMedia is announcing some new integrations for its iHeartRadio digital content platform during the show.  The company says that now listeners will have the ability to access iHeartRadio through a bot for Facebook Messenger; Samsung’s new voice service, Bixby; Jibo, the first social robot for the home; Garmin’s new GPS running watch, the Forerunner 645 Music; and via Roku…..Speaking of the 2018 CES, media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the show for TALKERS magazine and will be reporting all this week.  Watch for his show notes here at Talkers.com and in our daily emailer…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that former longtime WSCR, Chicago midday personality Dan McNeil has been sitting in on the Entercom sports talker recently.  He appeared yesterday morning (1/7) co-hosting with the station’s Danny Parkins.  Feder says McNeil will be back on WSCR next weekend with Tim Doyle.  Feder says that McNeil has been hosting a sports-oriented podcast.  He’s also been the voice of commercials for a Highland, Indiana Ford dealership where he’s on staff as a salesman…..Two former NFL players have been let go by ESPN after an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.  Donovan McNabb and Eric Davis – both of whom also have worked in sports talk radio since retiring from the NFL – were named in a lawsuit by NFL Network wardrobe stylist Jami Cantor in which she accuses McNabb of sending sexually inappropriate texts and Davis of groping her and making suggestive comments.

Hintz Named Marketing Director at Envision Networks. Syndicator and sales firm Envision Networks announces Dave Hintz returns to the radio industry to serve as the company’s new marketing director.  Hintz has been away from radio for the past 12 years, mostly with Progressive Insurance.  Envision CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “We are thrilled to have Dave join our growing company.  He brings a wealth of marketing and PR experience to our expanding business.  Dave will oversee our marketing team as well as manage additional sales initiatives debuting in 2018.”

Fire and Fury Controversy, Frigid Weather in Eastern U.S., Jeff Sessions vs Legal Marijuana, Computer Vulnerabilities, Golden Globe Awards/#MeToo Movement, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The controversy surrounding Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury, about the Donald Trump campaign and White House; the extreme cold that affected much of the Eastern United States; Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to have the Justice Department reverse the Obama era directive to not apply federal law in states where marijuana has been legalized; the vulnerability of all computers due to flaws in their microprocessors; Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards and the activism of the #MeToo movement; and the NFL playoff games 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. Pittsburgh country outlet WDSY “Y108” says it is bringing “Texas Country Music to Western Pennsylvania via a new weekly specialty program, ‘Red Dirt Revival.’”  The new program is airing Sunday evenings from 9:00 to 12:00 midnight, hosted by Waynesburg, PA native and Nashville-based singer-songwriter Jackson Gardner.  The program will feature music by artists such as Aaron Watson, Pat Green, and Eli Young Band.   Entercom SVP and Pittsburgh market manager Michael Young states, “These artists are making great contributions to country music overall and we are pleased to bring their great songs to the airwaves of Western Pennsylvania.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Alpha Media’s country WCCQ, Crest Hill, Illinois is rebranding as a classic country outlet, using the moniker “Today’s Country & The Legends.”  His report indicates that the station will emphasize artists from the 1990s and the early 2000s…..Saga Communications announces that Paul O’Malley is appointed president and general manager for the company’s Charleston, South Carolina cluster.   O’Malley was most recently SVP/strategic sales partnerships for Westwood One.  Saga CEO Ed Christian comments, “Paul’s world-class reputation and experience, coupled with his love for Charleston, made this a perfect fit for us and our outstanding team in Charleston.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

| December 15, 2017

CRTV Expands Content in 2018; Andrew Wilkow to Host Thrice-Weekly Show.  The digital video platform CRTV is announcing new programming to launch in the New Year.  Joining the existing programming will be a program hosted by Andrew Wilkow that will offer new episodes three times per week.  Wilkow hosts the daily satellite radio show, “The Wilkow Majority,” on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel.  He says, “CRTV has been rapidly signing talent and creating content for dedicated followers on constitutional conservative and libertarian thought.  I am honored to join the team led by Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin, Phil Robertson, Steven Crowder, Matt Kibbe, Deneen Borelli, and Gavin McInnes.  For those that love ‘The Wilkow Majority,’ this new TV program will be a natural extension.”  Two other new programs debuting in January are “Roaming Millennial: Uncensored,” starring YouTube sensation Roaming Millennial, and twice-per-week videos from Allie Stuckey.  CRTV is parent of the Conservative Review.

Friends and Stars Abound on Mike Francesa’s Penultimate WFAN Show.  Today’s final show will be a bit more subdued that Thursday’s program done live at the Paley Center for Media.  Mike Francesa says today it’ll be just callers and him, with the last half hour or so just him talking to his fans.  But, Thursday’s show involved a gaggle of friends and fellow broadcasters saluting – and ribbing – Francesa on the second-to-last day of his 30-year career at WFAN, New York.  Newsday reports the count of guests was 85 and included former WFAN partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, former WFAN colleague Don Imus, Carl Banks, Tiki Barber, John Calipari, Brian Cashman, Chris Christie, Bob Costas, Tom Coughlin, Victor Cruz, Dick Ebersol, Jim Fassel, Joe Girardi, Keith Hernandez, Eli Manning, Tim McCarver, Jim Nantz, Regis Philbin, Darryl Strawberry, Mike Tannenbaum, Lawrence Taylor, Suzyn Waldman, Bernie Williams and Kurt Warner.

CMG Radio News Pro Jamie Dupree Profiled by Politico.  He serves Cox Media Group as radio news director of the Washington bureau.  But, about a year-and-a-half ago, Jamie Dupree became increasingly unable to speak due to a condition that was eventually diagnosed as tongue protrusion dystonia.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for the rare affliction and it’s unknown if he’ll ever get his speaking voice back.  He still works for CMG covering the DC political beat because, as M. Scott Mahaskey writes in his piece in Politico, his Cox bosses realize that the connections and trust he’s built up in DC over the past 30 years are “really valuable.”  Back when his voice worked, Dupree was a regular contributor to not only CMG stations, but he made regular appearances on Sean Hannity’s Premiere Networks radio show.  Read more about Dupree’s story here.

SRN’s Greg Clugston Delivers Annual Christmas Poem.  News pro Greg Clugston continues the tradition he began 20 years ago – writing a politically tinged Christmas poem to the rhythm of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  You can read the entire poem here as USA Today printed the poem for international distribution.  Salem Media Group vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “We are proud to have Greg as part of our SRN News team and to know he has continued this annual tradition under both Democratic and Republican administrations for two decades.”  Clugston (left) is pictured here with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (right) after he read the poem to her and his colleagues from the White House Press Corps.

Roy Moore’s Loss to Doug Jones in Alabama Senate Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 11-15.  The special election for the vacant Alabama U.S. Senate seat that saw Democrat Doug Jones beat embattled Republican Roy Moore was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the various allegations of sexual misconduct against celebrities and politicians.  Coming in at #3 was the Republican tax reform plan, followed by the Trump-Russia investigation at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Live from London.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison sat in this morning for Doug “VB” Goudie, co-hosting with Kim Carrigan from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET on the WRKO, Boston morning show from his hotel room in central London using his trusted Comrex Access unit.  Harrison has been on a special UK radio tour gathering material on British media.  Harrison says, “It is amazing how reliable and in-studio-sounding Comrex equipment is, not to mention how easy it is to use.  We had to remind listeners throughout the show that I was several thousand miles away from Kim, producer Jim Clerkin and board operator Marita Mackinnon on the other side of the ocean and not in the same room with them.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull,” Alpha Media adds Jenn Hays to the “Tony and Jake in Mornings” and re-brands the show “Bull Mornings with Tony, Jake and Jenn,” effective January 8.  Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Lisa Decker says, “Following an exhaustive nationwide search it was clear that Jennifer Hays is uniquely qualified to join The Bull’s morning show.  She is very talented, a native of Portland, a huge country music fan and growing up, KUPL was her favorite country station.  She will bring her talent, wit, enthusiasm for Portland and country music home.  The next chapter for The Bull’s morning show is about to be written.  We look forward to a fun and compelling local show as Jenn joins her co-hosts Tony Russell and Jake Byron.”…..Spanish music radio pro Rico Hernandez is named by iHeartMedia Phoenix to the position of morning show talent and executive station producer for KOY-AM/K229DB “El Patron.”  Hernandez will continue to serve as midday personality on the company’s KXEW-AM, Tucson “Tejano 1600.”  iHeartMedia EVP of programming West Division Steve Geofferies comments, “We’re looking forward to Rico’s Spanish expertise and experience.  This is the start of a very exciting time for El Patron in Phoenix.”…..SiriusXM is presenting a special, invitation-only show at Los Angeles’ Troubadour on Tuesday (12/19) by Brian Setzer and his 19-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra.  This is the third consecutive year the show will happen.  The “Christmas Rocks!” concert will air Friday, December 22 at 8:00 pm ET on the Outlaw Country channel.

Music and Radio Pro Roxy Myzal to Retire.  Her career in the music and radio businesses spanned 42 years but now, Roxy Myzal is ready to take it a bit easier and is retiring from her current position with United Stations Radio Networks.  During her career, Myzal was music director at long-ago rock station WXLO-FM, New York; she worked promotions at Atlantic and Chrysalis Records; and served with Rolling Stone creating the “Rolling Stones’ Continuous History of Rock and Roll” radio show.  Most recently, she’s been with USRN overseeing its hardDrive brand.

Monday, November 20, 2017

| November 20, 2017

Air Talent Changes at KCMO-AM, Kansas CityTALKERS magazine hears that Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM, Kansas City has let both Greg Knapp and Tom Becka go.  Becka had been hosting the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show since May of 2016.  That daypart is now listed on the station’s website as part of the “KCMO Morning Show” from 6:00 am to 11:00 am.  Knapp had been hosting the 6:00 am to 9:00 am morning show since rejoining the station in January of this year.  He had hosted the afternoon drive show on KCMO until exiting in late April of 2016.  Chicago talk radio pro Bruce Wolf is hosting mornings today through Wednesday (11/20-22).

Salem Moves DC’s ‘The Answer’ to WSPZ, Bethesda.  The conservative news/talk station is already re-branded “AM 570 The Answer,” reflecting its moves to WSPZ.  However, as of today (11/20) it’s still heard on WWRC, Washington at 1260 AM, but it’s probable that Salem Media Group will install a Christian talk or music format on the 1260 AM signal.  Salem bought WSPZ from Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra earlier this year.

Sapienza to Lead Entercom Baltimore’s Sports Programming.  Former longtime Red Zebra programmer Chuck Sapienza joins Entercom to serve as director of sports programming for WJZ-FM, Baltimore and executive producer for Baltimore Orioles and University of Maryland Radio Networks.  He worked for Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington in numerous capacities for 10 years, including serving as program director.  After leaving WTEM, he was executive producer at the Naval Academy Football Radio Network.

Markiewicz Replaces Van Stone at RadiOhio’s Sports Radio Operations in Columbus.  After a 40-year career in broadcasting, David Van Stone is retiring from his position as president and general manager of RadiOhio’s sports talk stations WBNS-FM “97.1 The Fan” and WBNS-AM “1460 ESPN,” plus The Ohio News Network.  The company announces it is promoting station manager and director of sales Todd Markiewicz to vice president and general manager in charge of the radio operations.  The changes take effect in January.  Markiewicz says, “The opportunity to become the steward of these heritage Columbus radio and digital properties is just a thrill for me.  Dave Van Stone’s leadership over the past 19 years has resulted in our company operating at an elevated level toward our goal of super-serving our listeners, our community and our employees.  My job now is to make sure RadiOhio matches that excellence for years to come and I can’t imagine a better group of radio professionals to accept that challenge with than those already working within these walls.”  Van Stone comments, “These last 19 years working for RadiOhio have been tremendous.  I want to thank the Wolfe family and [RadiOhio chairman and CEO] Michael Fiorile for their confidence and support.  Thanks as well to the outstanding, dedicated RadiOhio staff for their commitment to excellence and for ‘making great radio.’”

Beasley Names VP of Digital Sales.  This is a newly created position at Beasley Media Group and the company welcomes Dan Frisbie to the vice president of digital sales position.  His radio experience includes an eight-year stint as VP of sales for iHeartMedia.  Most, recently he was leading his Frisbie Consulting LLC in which he assisted clients with media, digital, mobile, and video sales strategies and operations.  Beasley EVP of digital Steve Meyers comments, “We are thrilled to bring Dan on board to lead digital revenue growth at Beasley Media Group.  Dan’s experience, enthusiasm and passion for digital, especially as it relates to the radio space, is a perfect complement for our goals to aggressively grow our digital presence and capabilities for our brands and our clients.”

ESPN Radio Announces 2018 Network Schedule; New Podcasts.  In addition to the new morning drive show, “Golic & Wingo,” ESPN Radio is unveiling its new lineup for the network, effective January 2, 2018.  The WEPN, New York-based Stephen A. Smith radio show joins the network for national distribution in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart.  Ryen Russillo – currently hosting the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm show – moves to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot with new co-host Will Cain.  That bumps “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” off the schedule (Jones continues with the company on the TV side).  “Spain and Fitz” is the new early evening show featuring espnW voice Sarah Spain with SEC Network commentator Jason Fitz.  In a time shift, the “Freddie & Fitzsimmons” show with Freddie Coleman and Ian Fitzsimmons moves from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am to the new 9:00 pm to 1:00 am slot.  The company also announces new podcasts from Bomani Jones (new episodes 2-3 times per week), Jalen Rose and David Jacoby (whose Jalen & Jacoby podcast will be produced 4-5 times per week), and Katie Nolan (a weekly show).

Entercom Unveils New Analytics Tool for Advertisers.  With Friday’s close of the EntercomCBS RADIO merger, the new Entercom hit the road running with a few high-profile format flips and a statement about its new business practices.  It also announced the new Entercom Audience Analytics tool for radio advertisers.  The company says it offers “advertisers unique data and analytic insights designed to optimize their advertising campaigns and improve return on investment. The enhanced analytics capability is powered by an exclusive partnership in Entercom markets with AnalyticOwl, a broadcast analytics platform used to measure effectiveness and audience response of radio advertising.”  Entercom chief revenue officer Bob Philips adds, “Entercom Audience Analytics will enable us to develop a more consultative relationship with our advertising partners and more effectively measure and validate the important role of radio in the consumers’ path to purchase.  This is a tremendous step toward improving campaign effectiveness and ROI for our advertisers.”

GOP Tax Plan, Celebrity Sexual Assault Allegations/Franken Case, Roy Moore Sexual Predation Accusations, Nuclear Launch Debate, FOX News Channel Supports Hannity, Charles Manson Dies, David Cassidy Hospitalized, Justice League Film, American Music Awards, College Football Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Analysis of the effects of the Republican tax reform plan; the slew of sexual assault allegations involving celebrities and the case involving Senator Al Franken; the allegations of sexual predation against Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore; the debate over the machinations of a nuclear weapons launch after Air Force General John Hyten said he would ignore an illegal request from the president; FOX News Channel issues a statement in support of Sean Hannity after advertiser boycott effort; Charles Manson dies at age 83; 1970s teen heartthrob David Cassidy hospitalized in critical condition; the opening weekend of the Justice League film; Sunday’s “American Music Awards”; Saturday’s games with College Football Playoff implications; and Sunday’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.

Science Guru and Rising YouTube Star, Isaac Arthur, Guests this Week on Harrison Podcast. He is a high school drop-out from Ohio with a trademark speech impediment and a true geek’s love of science fact and fiction who, after earning his GED diploma, went on to graduate with a B.S. in Physics from Kent State University at the age of 20. He attended graduate school but preferred self-teaching and dropped out to serve in the army in Germany and Iraq. Upon returning home, he became involved in local politics and was appointed a member of the Ashtabula County, Ohio Board of Elections. (He tells Michael Harrison, “We take our elections very seriously here in Ohio.”) But there is a whole other talk media side to Isaac Arthur that caught the attention of Harrison and makes him an ideal guest for the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far out with Michael Harrison,” as well as being a person of significant interest to the commercial media industry. It began as a hobby and has now grown into something remarkable. He is the producer and host of a rapidly growing YouTube channel titled, “Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur.” He writes, produces and narrates stunning video podcasts that run between ½ hour and an hour that curate, explore and explain the provocative leading edge of popular science. In three years, his channel has attracted more than 161,000 devoted subscribers and more than 12 million visits. Harrison, a passionate layman enthusiast of science and astrophysics says, “Isaac Arthur is a quintessential example of the pioneers who are out there laboring on the outskirts of the mainstream commercial radio/TV industries on the exciting frontier of talk media – where audio intersects with video, graphics, education and entertainment. Everyone in the radio business with an eye on podcasting and cross-platform brand expansion can learn from him. Having a personal love for the subject matter he covers, I am his fan!” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Mars Dominates AMAs. In the Tracee Ellis Ross-hosted American Music Awards ceremony held last night (11/19) in Los Angeles, Bruno Mars took home six trophies, including “Artist of the Year,” “Favorite Male Artist – Pop/Rock,” and “Video of the Year” for “That’s What I Like.” Ross’ mother – Diana Ross – was honored for her “Lifetime Achievement.” Among the other highlights from the ABC-TV telecast were Lady Gaga cited as “Favorite Female Artist – Pop/Rock,” Niall Horan named “New Artist of the Year,” and Coldplay recognized as “Tour of the Year.” Elsewhere in the “Pop/Rock” category, Imagine Dragons won “Favorite Duo or Group”; Mars’ “24K Magic” was “Favorite Album,” while Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieberhad the “Favorite Song” (“Despacito”). Winners in the country format were Keith Urban (“Favorite Male Artist,” “Favorite Song” for “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” and “Favorite Album” for “Ripcord”); Carrie Underwood (“Favorite Female Artist”); and Little Big Town “Favorite Duo or Group.” Honored as “Favorite Artist – Adult Contemporary” and “Favorite Artist – Alternative Rock” were Shawn Mendes and Linkin Park, respectively. Meanwhile, Mars scored victories in the “Soul/R&B” genre as “Favorite Male Artist,” “Favorite Album” (“24K Magic”); and “Favorite Song (“That’s What I Like”); Beyonce was recognized as “Favorite Female Artist – Soul/R&B.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Alt rock personality and programmer Tamo Sein joins iHeartMedia’s WEND, Charlotte “106.5 The End” to host the midday show and serve as APD and music director.  In this role, she’ll assist in the day-to-day operations of the station’s music programming and scheduling of music logs as well as be responsible for all the station’s imaging and branding.  Sein will report to WEND program director Chuck “DZL” Thompson.  She comes to Charlotte from iHeartMedia’s Richmond cluster where she was music director and afternoon drive host…..On-air pro Jeff Pope is named morning show host at All Pro Broadcasting-owned hot AC duo KHTI-FM “Hot 103.9” and KATY-FM “101.3 The Mix” in the Riverside-San Bernardino market.  Pope has most recently been morning host at Alpha Media’s hot AC KEZR San Jose but he’d worked in the Inland Empire for 13 years prior to that hosting morning drive at iHeartMedia’s crosstown rhythmic CHR KGGI…..SiriusXM is presenting a special invitation-only performance by Duran Duran at the Faena Theater in Miami on December 9.  The exclusive performance will feature Duran Duran playing signature music from throughout their career, including songs from their most recent, top-10 charting studio album, Paper Gods…..Rowdy Yates, host of “Original Country Gold with Rowdy Yates,” is offering a half-hour, “Mel Tillis Tribute Special” for immediate radio airplay on a non-market-exclusive basis.  The tribute features music from Mel, songs that he wrote for others (like “Ruby” for Kenny Rogers and “Detroit City” for Bobby Bare), music from his daughter Pam Tillis and some great stories about his rise to fame along with the hardships that he overcame.  This Compass Media presentation is available to stations in a commercial free format.  The download link is here.  Please email Doug Ingold at dingold@compassmedianetworks.com with call letters, intended air dates and times.  Call Doug with questions at 310-242-8746.

Westwood One Backstage at the AMAs.  This past weekend, Westwood One Backstage at the AMAs took place at the Microsoft Theater Event Deck in Los Angeles from Thursday (11/16) through Saturday (11/18) that included three days of branded programming and artist interviews.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Cat Collins, EVP/In2une Music; Mike McVay, EVP programming & content, Cumulus Media and Westwood One; John Kilgo, SVP, talent relations, Cumulus Media; in2une recording artist Taylor Grey; and Suzanne Grimes, EVP corporate marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

| November 8, 2017

John Hancock Signs New Deal with WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Afternoon drive personality John Hancock signs a multi-year contract extension with Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Hancock began his career at WBT in 1990.  Over the course of those 27 years, he’s broadcast on almost every daypart on the station.  Earlier this year, he was inducted into the “WBT Hall of Fame” and carries the distinction as the only Hall of Fame member who is still actively broadcasting.  Entercom Charlotte VP and market manager Matt Hanlon states, “John represents one of the most unique radio personalities in America today.  He’s a WBT Hall of Famer and still delivers a contemporary message every day that the listeners can count on.”

iHeartMedia Third Quarter Radio Revenue Basically Flat.  Reporting 2017 third quarter financial numbers, iHeartMedia’s consolidated revenue was down 1.9% compared to the same period in 2016.  But the radio division was up a hair — $2.4 million or 0.3% — compared to the third quarter of 2016.  For the first nine months of 2017, the radio division is up 1.5%.  COO and CFO Rich Bressler notes that the positive figure for the radio division extends “year-over-year revenue growth to eighteen consecutive quarters.”  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “As a true multi-platform, 21st-century media company, we continue to expand the innovative ways for us to engage consumers and to reinvent how we do business with our advertising and marketing partners.  At our iHeartMedia business, in addition to building out a data-first programmatic advertising platform, we are continually growing our content offerings, including iHeartRadio’s podcast platform, with virtually all of the top 200 U.S. podcasts.”

Salem Media Group Q3 Broadcast Revenue Dips 5.1%.  For the third quarter of 2017, Salem Media Group reports total revenue decreased by 8.2% to $65.4 million from $71.3 million during the same period in 2016.  Breaking down the company by segments, net broadcast revenue was $48.4 million, a decrease of 5.1% from $51.1 million in 2016.  Digital media revenue decreased 12.9% to $10.4 million from $12.0 million the year prior.  Salem’s publishing revenue was down 20.2% to $6.6 million from $8.2 million in Q3 of 2016.

Saga Reports Revenue Increase in Third Quarter.  Reporting third quarter financials, Saga Communications says net revenue was up 1.3% to $30.3 million compared to the same quarter a year ago.  Station operating expense was flat compared to Q3 2016 at $21.8 million and operating income was $5.5 million compared to $6.8 million for the same period last year, with the reduction primarily due to a gain of $1.4 million recognized from the sale of one of the company’s towers in Norfolk, Virginia during the third quarter last year.  On a same-station basis, net revenue declined 1.1% to $29.6 million.

PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the first of four reports on the performances of stations based on data from the October 2017 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio.  Today, Kinosian reports on public news/talk radio.  He says, “Almost half the stations on this public news/talk panel improve September 2017 – October 2017 (47%, 6+) while roughly one of every three is down (34%); the remaining 19% of the sample remains flat (6+).”  When comparing 6+ numbers year-over-year, “Not quite two of every three stations from our eligible public news/talk sample are up (63%,), meanwhile, approximately one in four (27%) decline; the remaining 10% are unchanged.”  Ten public radio news/talk stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets in October and two ranked #1.  KQED hit the #1 spot in both the San Francisco and San Jose markets while KUOW was #1 in Seattle.  See Kinosian’s complete report here.

Virginia and New Jersey Gubernatorial Elections, Trump China Visit, North Korea Nuclear Tensions, Texas Church Massacre Aftermath, Trump-Russia Investigation, Saudi Arabia-Iran Conflict, Sexual Assault Cases, NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7).  Yesterday’s gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey; President Trump’s visit to China; the ongoing nuclear tensions between North Korea and the U.S.; the aftermath of the church shooting in Texas that claimed the lives of 26; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; Saudi Arabia’s claim Iran fired a missile at Riyadh from Yemen; the sexual assault case of actor Kevin Spacey and the report of Harvey Weinstein’s hiring spies to track actresses and journalists; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Bohannon Visits Janesville Affiliate. Pictured above is Westwood One syndicated late-night personality Jim Bohannon (left), Mark Finnegan of the veteran’s organizations Vetsroll.org (center), and Tim Bremel, operations manager and host of “Your Talk Show” on WCLO Janesville, Wisconsin at a remote broadcast at a Culver’s Restaurant.  WCLO is an affiliate of Bohannon’s program.

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Reno radio pro “Big Chris” Hart is named program director at Cumulus Media’s classic hip hop KNEV, Reno “95.5 The Vibe.”  Hart previously served in the market programming and serving on at KWFP and, before that, working at KUUB.  Hart says, “This is one of those opportunities that you dream about in this business.  I’ve competed against and known the Cumulus team in Reno for 17 years.  Now, it’s my distinct pleasure to be joining the best team around and do some great, fun, plain ol’ kick-butt radio with Cumulus, KNEV and the good people of the greatest market in the universe, Reno!”…..Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show’ is joining the American Forces Network beginning Monday (11/13).  The KYSR, Los Angeles “Alt 98.7”-based Woody Show will be added to the lineup on the AFN alternative music channel…..iHeartCountry and Premiere Networks are presenting multi-platform coverage of tonight’s “The 51st Annual CMA Awards.”  In addition to carrying the ABC-TV telecast audio across the 80-some iHeartCountry radio stations, for the first time, iHeartCountry will, among other things, present a Facebook live broadcast of the red carpet arrivals hosted by award-winning radio and CMT personality Cody Alan.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

| October 17, 2017

Big Executive Changes at Townsquare Media.  The biggest surprise about the news released by Townsquare Media late yesterday (10/16) is that company founder and CEO Steven Price is leaving the CEO role and will now be the executive chairman of the board, a move that takes him out of the day-to-day operation of the radio and live events company.  It was seven years ago that Price – with backing from Oaktree Capital Management – founded the company.  Oaktree managing director and Townsquare board member David Quick announces that Bill Wilson and Dhruv Prasad are being promoted to the positions of co-chief executive officers who will report to the board of directors.  At the same time, the company announces that radio management pro Erik Hellum is promoted to chief operating officer, local media.  Townsquare reports that it “owns 318 radio stations and more than 325 local websites in 67 U.S. markets, a digital marketing solutions company serving approximately 11,750 small-to-medium sized businesses, approximately 550 live events with nearly 18 million attendees each year in the U.S. and Canada, and one of the largest digital advertising networks focused on music and entertainment reaching more than 50 million unique visitors each month.”  In 2015, Townsquare acquired mobile amusement company North American Midway Entertainment.  It also operates music and entertainment websites including: hip hop-focused XXLmag.com, TasteofCountry.com, hard-rock-oriented Loudwire.com and New York music site BrooklynVegan.com.

Entertainment Journalist Craig Marks Joins Townsquare.  Speaking of those genre-specific digital publications that Townsquare Media operates, the company says that it has hired “veteran editor and journalist” Craig Marks to serve as editorial director in which he’ll “oversee editorial content across web, social and video for eight of Townsquare’s music and entertainment brands including: TasteofCountry, Loudwire, PopCrush, ScreenCrush, UltimateClassicRock, TheBoot, Diffuser, and TheBoombox.”  He will work alongside Vanessa Satten, longtime editor in chief of XXLmag.com.  During his career, Marks has served as executive editor at Billboard, and as editor-in-chief at Blender magazine, Spin and Popdust. He comments, “I am thrilled to be joining such an innovative, multi-platform company as Townsquare.  I look forward to participating in the continued growth of the company and its industry-leading music and pop-culture brands.”

Story Questions Trump’s Absence from Talk Radio.  In a piece by Oliver Darcy published at CNN.com, the author wonders why President Trump has, except for one or two campaign-oriented appearances, not taken his message to conservative talk radio.  Noting that conservative talk radio hosts are, by and large, supporters of the president, reports that the administration says the president has “a great relationship with talk radio” but choses to use Twitter “to speak directly with his base.”  Some talk hosts offer their thoughts.  Former WTMJ, Milwaukee talk host Charlie Sykes is quoted saying, “The only thing that I can think of is that Donald Trump doesn’t listen to the radio.  He watches television.  He reads The New York Times. So he reacts to what’s in his world.”  WFTL, Fort Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman says she thinks he knows he’s vulnerable in the long-form interview with hosts who might pressure him on issues like immigration reform.  Read the whole story here.

Tax Reform Radio Row Today at White House.  The story above notwithstanding, talk radio has a presence in Washington today as the administration hosts a radio row at the Old Executive Office Building to promote its tax reform plans.  Talk show hosts taking part in the radio row include Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt and Mike Gallagher, Cumulus Media hosts Chris Plante, Mary Walter, and Vince Coglianese, as well as WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall and WIBC, Indianapolis’ Tony Katz. Guests available to speak to talk radio hosts will include President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway and others. Pictured above is Salem’s Mike Gallagher (right) shaking hands with President Trump (left).  Pictured below is WPHT’s Chris Stigall (right) interviewing Vice President Mike Pence.

Salem Moves News/Talker in St. Louis to Make Room for Gospel Outlet.  As of yesterday (10/16), Salem Media Group moved its St. Louis news/talk format “The Answer” from WDSZ-AM/K236CS to KXFN-AM/K287BY and will install “Praise 95.1” on WDSZ and its translator.  In a statement about the move, Salem Media St. Louis general manager Greg Lhamon says that there’s an untapped market.  “Based on conversations with many in the St. Louis area, the community has been waiting to enjoy gospel on the FM dial.”

CBS Sports to Simulcast Jim Rome ShowVariety is reporting that CBS Sports is going to start simulcasting the Jim Rome radio show on cable’s CBS Sports Network, effective January 2.  The piece reports that the company is building a new studio to “reflect the new visual elements of his program.”  EVP of programming at CBS Sports Dan Weinberg says, “Jim is an engaging and dynamic host with an incredibly loyal and passionate fan base.  We are excited to provide one of sports talk radio’s most enduring programs a new national platform on television.”  Rome has been with CBS Sports Radio since 2012 after a long career syndicated by Premiere Networks.

North Korea Nuclear Program, McCain ‘Liberty Medal’ Speech, Weinstein Scandal, Puerto Rico Recovery Troubles, Kaepernick Lawsuit, Las Vegas Shooting Investigation, ISIS Driven Out of Raqqa, U. Florida-Richard Spencer Event, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16).  North Korea’s statement of no negotiations until it has ICBMs that can hit the U.S. East Coast; John McCain decries ‘half-baked’ nationalism during medal acceptance speech; the Harvey Weinstein sexual predation scandal and criticism of Hollywood’s history of ‘looking the other way’; the hampered recovery efforts in Puerto Rico; former NFLer Colin Kaepernick sues the league owners for collusion; the investigation into the motive behind the deadly Las Vegas shooting and the now-missing Mandalay security guard; U.S.-backed forces push ISIS out of Raqqa; Florida Governor Rick Scott’s concerns about public safety during white nationalist Richard Spencer’s pending University of Florida appearance; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  On Thursday (10/19), Beasley Media Group will present “Vegas Strong: A Night of Healing” at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.  The concert will honor all victims, survivors and first responders from the October 1 tragedy and feature country superstars Big & Rich and Cam, plus a surprise performance from one of country’s most renowned acts.  Beasley says 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Steve Sisolak Las Vegas Victims’ Fund that has, to date, raised nearly $11 million.  Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Tom Humm states, “Due to the kindness and support of the Beasley family, Mega Country Recording Artists, the country community and The Orleans Arena/Boyd Gaming we have the opportunity to present ‘A Night of Healing’ for affected families and also give special thanks to our first responders.  It is our privilege and honor to help in any small way we can as proud members of this community.  Vegas Strong!”…..The new contract between urban morning radio star Tom Joyner and Reach Media is also signaling the end of Joyner’s radio show after December 31, 2019.  The two announced the new deal last week and now report that as Joyner celebrates his 25th year in national syndication, he “plans to launch a two-year-long celebration campaign, sharing events and experiences with his listeners highlighting the past, present and future of the Tom Joyner brand.  Joyner reportedly will reveal more as his show moves forward with events and activities as a lead-up to the conclusion of his iconic morning show.”…..A new talent search TV show is coming next year and iHeartMedia is collaborating with Fox Broadcasting Company, show creator Armoza Formats, and producer ITV Entertainment.  The show is titled, “THE FOUR: BATTLE FOR STARDOM,” and iHeartMedia will use its radio station listenership to support auditions, assist in the search for talent, and boost the careers of artists throughout the run of the competition.  As part of the grand prize, the winner of the show will also be part of iHeartMedia’s “On the Verge” artist development program, which will support the winning talent with airplay across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide.  “THE FOUR: BATTLE FOR STARDOM” begins with four super-talented singers, chosen from auditions by the show, defending their coveted spots on the stage as they are challenged individually by new singers determined to replace them.  If the existing four outperform their challengers, they survive to sing another week, until the end of the season, when the final four face off against each other.  Only one will claim the ultimate prize for an aspiring artist: a team of elite star-makers – the series’ panel of judges – all committed to launching and guiding the winner’s music career…..iHeartMedia is launching a new festival, this one aimed at the alternative rock audience, called “iHeartRadio ALTer EGO” and taking place on January 19 at the Forum in Los Angeles.  Artists scheduled to perform so far include: Mumford & Sons, Cage The Elephant, Beck, Spoon, WALK THE MOON, The National and Dashboard Confessional, with more to be announced later.  Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia president John Sykes says, “Alternative rock is experiencing an incredible renaissance.  Young bands in their 20s are making music with the same energy and power of the bands like U2, Depeche Mode and REM, that helped to create the format.”…..Alpha Media San Jose inks nationally syndicated morning duo “Brooke & Jubal” to handle the morning drive daypart at its hot AC KEZR “Mix 106.”…..Michael Tedesco shifts from director of business development with Educational Media Foundation to sales manager at Christian contemporary WAWZ, Zarepath, New Jersey “Star 99.1.”  He takes over for the retiring Lorraine Shaw.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

| October 11, 2017

16 More Station Divestitures Named in Entercom SEC Filing – Boston’s News/Talk WRKO, All-News WBZ-AM, and Sports Talk WBZ-FM Being Sold.  Which stations will not be part of the new Entercom after its merger with CBS RADIO has been one of the most eagerly awaited radio news stories since the deal was first announced.  And now, with Entercom’s SEC filing, we know of 16 more stations – in addition to the three being sold to the Educational Media Foundation – that will go to new owners.  When all the deals are consummated, Entercom will realize $264.8 million in proceeds from the divestitures that CEO David Field says will be used to pay down debt and, maybe, buy more stations.  No one thought Entercom would be allowed to keep two FM sports talk giants in Boston, so it’s not surprising that WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” is being divested (Entercom will keep its longtime sports talkers WEEI-FM and WEEI-AM “ESPN Radio 850”) along with heritage all-news WBZ-AM and classic rock WZLX.  Those are the CBS stations.  Entercom will also divest its own news/talk WRKO and urban contemporary WKAF.  In the Pacific Northwest, CBS Seattle signals adult hits KJAQ, classic rock KZOK, and sports talk KFNQ-AM are headed for divestiture.  Down the coast in San Francisco, Entercom will shuck its own adult contemporary KOIT, urban contemporary KBLX, and classic rock KUFX (San Jose) as well as CBS’ CHR KMVQ.  In the Sacramento market, CBS stations country KNCI, adult contemporary KYMX, hot AC KZZO, and sports talk KHTK will go to new owners.  The filing does not indicate who the prospective new owners are.  What David Field does say is that he still expects the deal to close before the end of the year.

PPM Analysis: All-News.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the first of four analyses of the performances of radio stations based on data from the September 2017 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio.  Today’s report looks at all-news-formatted stations.  As Kinosian notes in the story, all but three of the all-news stations in this report are CBS RADIO-owned properties.  The last PPM survey was good to all-news with “three of four stations on this particular news panel up August 2017 – September 2017 (75%); roughly one in five are down (19%) and the remaining 6% remain flat (6+).”  Comparing year-over-year ratings, “two of three stations on our eligible all-news sample improve September 2016 – September 2017 (67%, 6+), while one in three shows a decrease (33%).”  All-news outlets generally do well in the 6+ ratings and September was no different with seven stations finishing in the top five in their respective markets.  One, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington, finishing #1.  Read the whole report here.

Salem’s KRLA/KTIE Keeps Whitman for Mornings.  Morning personality Brian Whitman inks a new contract with Salem Media Group to continue anchoring the morning drive show on news/talk stations KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino.  The Southern California radio pro has worked at such stations as KABC and the old KLSX-FM.  He started with Salem in April of 2012.  Currently, Whitman and Jennifer Horn co-host “The Morning Answer” that’s simulcast on the conservative news/talk stations.  KRLA program director Chuck Tyler comments, “Brian is a one-of-a-kind talent.  I’m thrilled to know that he will be anchoring the ‘Morning Answer’ for years to come.”

TALKERS News Notes.  The Virginia-based John Fredericks show begins airing on Salem Media Group’s WWRC, Washington “AM 1260 The Answer” in the 8:00 am to 10:00 am slot, effective Monday (10/16).  Fredericks’ program airs live from 6:00 am to 10:00 am and is also heard on WHTK, Hampton Roads; WNTW, Richmond; and WBRG, Lynchburg…..At William Pollack-owned, suburban Chicago talk station WCGO, Evanston, “The Citizen Kelly Show” moves from middays to the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot.  Show host William J. Kelly made news locally after recently announcing he plans to challenge Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner in the 2018 Republican primary race…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc announces that the nationally syndicated travel radio show “Rudy Maxa’s World with the Careys” has added 60 new radio affiliates through the first three quarters of 2017.  Robert and Mary Carey say, “We’re truly delighted and thankful for the strong support our program enjoys from network affiliates, leading sponsors and a loyal audience across our various platforms.  Our radio program is unlike anything found or heard out there – and it’s rewarding to realize so many people enjoy and respect what we do.”…..Pictured at right is a scene from last Friday’s fundraising event for the Puppy Jake Foundation – a charity founded by WHO, Des Moines afternoon talk host Simon Conway that acquires, raises, and trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans.  Friday’s fourth annual, free sandwich giveaway raised more than $28,500 for the charity.

Trump-Corker Feud, Weinstein Scandal, Iran Nuclear Deal, N. Korea Hacks U.S. War Plans, GOP Tax Plan, California Wildfires, MLB Playoffs, NFL Action/Anthem Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11).  The war of words between President Trump and Senator Bob Corker; the accusations of sexual predation and rape against entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein; the allegations that Iran’s nuclear weapons program has not been halted and President Trump’s indication he will not certify Iran’s compliance; reports that North Korean agents hacked joint U.S.-South Korea military plans involving the North; the GOP’s formulation of its tax reform plan; the deadly California wildfires that have killed at least 17; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and NFL action and the ongoing controversy over national anthem protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Programming pro Scott Jameson signs a multi-year contract extension with Cumulus Media to continue as vice president of classic rock and operations manager for its Minneapolis stations and program director for classic rock KQRS.  The company’s other music stations in the Twin Cities are active rock KXXR “93X” and classic hip hop trimulcast, WGVX/WRXP/WWWM “105 The Vibe.”  Jameson says, “I have a great job in a city I love, a wonderful family and a dream team staff at KQRS who impress and inspire me daily.  I’m a very lucky guy.  Thanks to all who have helped me along the way.  Special thanks to Mike McVay for his motivational leadership.”…..At Cumulus Media’s alternative WNNX, Atlanta “99X,” the original three hosts of “The Morning X” program that aired on the station from 1993 through 2003 are coming back for a special broadcast on October 26 – the station’s alternative format 25th anniversary.  Steve Barnes, Leslie Fram and Jimmy Baron will return to the Atlanta airwaves for the first time in more than a decade as part of the station’s celebration.  WNNX says listeners can expect a healthy dose of laughter and gags, celebrity interviews and nostalgic banter from the trio, who “ruled Atlanta’s morning airwaves from 1993 to 2003.”…..E.W. Scripps’ country WKTI “94.5 KTI COUNTRY” launches a nationwide search for a superstar country morning show host to fill the slot left vacant by the departure of Jake Kelly.  The station notes that most recently, it added Milwaukee icon and Country Radio Hall of Fame host Karen Dalessandro for afternoons.  WKTI program director Ryan Wild says, “We’re looking a fun, entertaining morning show that loves country music.  To help us complete the job of winning in Milwaukee, the right show will run for office with our listeners every day, and embrace living in Wisconsin.  Very few people understand how to be a great local host, we are looking for someone that does!” To apply, visit www.scripps.com/careers.  Local radio pro Carol Vonn is handling the morning show until a permanent host is named.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

| September 28, 2017

FCC Chairman Pai Asks Apple to Activate FM Chips.  In a statement issued today (9/28), Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is asking Apple – the lone major smartphone manufacturer holdout – to agree to activate the FM chips installed in phones.  Pai says, “When wireless networks go down during a natural disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow Americans to get vital access to life-saving information.  I applaud those companies that have done the right thing by activating the FM chips in their phones.  Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so.  But I hope the company will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.  That’s why I am asking Apple to activate the FM chips that are in its iPhones.  It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first.”  There has been no public response to Pai’s statement by Apple.

Price Tag for Entercom-EMF Deal: $57.75 Million. We know the price for the three Entercom radio stations sold to Educational Media Foundation after Entercom filed with the FCC.  These three stations are the first of the divestitures required to facilitate the merger of Entercom and CBS RADIO.  Educational Media Foundation is paying Entercom $57.75 million for KSWD, Los Angeles; KSOQ, Escondido (San Diego market), and WGGI, Benton, PA (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market).

WSB, Atlanta’s Condace Pressley Receives Local Honor.  The Atlanta Business League has just announced its 2017 list of “Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence” and WSB Radio manager of program operations and community affairs Condace Pressley is honored as a member of this year’s list.  Pressley was recognized during the “Women of Vision” breakfast on Tuesday (9/26) at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.  Since 1994, the list has reflected the names of black women in the metro Atlanta community who have reached senior level positions within their profession, are leading entrepreneurs in their industry, or have attained the ability to influence large public bodies politically and in government.  WSB-AM/WSBB-FM director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs comments, “Condace quietly and humbly moves through Atlanta’s communities and serves, mentors and leads every day.  And, she’s done that throughout her entire career with WSB and ‘KISS 104.’  I am so proud and pleased that she gets this kind of due fanfare.”

Financial Talker Ray Lucia Seeks Supreme Court Ruling to Get Back into Investment Business. Financial talk radio host Ray Lucia is taking his ouster from the securities industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The San Diego Reader has a lengthy story on the matter here.  The short version is that Lucia was banned in 2013 after the SEC ruled that his “Buckets of Money” investment plan was not “backtested.”  He has appealed the ruling to no avail.  Now, he’s arguing that the administrative law judge responsible for the decision to kick him out of the industry was appointed unconstitutionally.  Lucia’s attorney tells the paper he believes the SCOTUS will hear the case.  Lucia’s program is syndicated via the Biz Talk Radio network.

TALKERS News Notes.  As part of its “Community Conversation” series, Scripps’ Milwaukee news/talk WTMJ’s news department is presenting a program addressing the controversy surrounding player protests during the national anthem at NFL games.   The uninterrupted, one-hour special takes place this afternoon (9/28) at 4:00 pm CT.  The conversation will lead directly into WTMJ Radio pregame coverage of the Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears game at Lambeau Field.  WTMJ director of programming and news Eric Brooks states, “The protests by NFL players during the national anthem have sparked debate and raised awareness of the issues of social justice in the country.  WTMJ Radio is the flagship station of the Green Bay Packers and the de facto town hall for the state of Wisconsin.  We feel it’s our duty to provide a high-profile place for all sides of the conversation to be heard.”  WTMJ hosts John Mercure and Melissa Barclay will moderate the special that is also being streamed at wtmj.com and via Facebook Live…..Dallas talk show host Jon-David Wells announces via Facebook that his talk show “The Wells Report” is soon to be heard in the market on Salem Media Group’s KVCE-AM, Highland Park as it flips from a simulcast of Christian teaching KWRD-FM to news/talk as “1160 AM KBDT – Big D Talk.”  Wells says his program, previously heard on Salem’s news/talk KSKY, is also being distributed via USA Radio Network…..Pictured at right is Salem Radio Network East Coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh in a still shot from a promo for this weekend’s season premiere of “Saturday Night Live.”  Bligh plays a security guard who won’t let guest star Ryan Gosling upstairs without a guest pass.  See the video here.  When Bligh is not scratching his acting itch (he’s appeared in motion pictures such as Man on a Ledge and Ricki and the Flash), he’s securing new affiliate stations for SRN’s Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Larry Elder and others.

PodcastOne and Former Staffer in Legal Tangle.  Former PodcastOne producer Raymond Hernandez and company founder and chairman Norm Pattiz have very different views of the issues surrounding Hernandez’s claims against Pattiz.  As reported first in Variety, Hernandez is suing PodcastOne for unlawful termination, claiming that he was let go for protesting instructions from Pattiz to “inflate download numbers” of the company’s podcasts.  PodcastOne attorney Marvin Putnam, however, says, “Mr. Hernandez was fired for stealing intellectual property from PodcastOne — a theft he has admitted to committing.”  In the complaint, Hernandez says Pattiz, who is a reserve sheriff’s deputy, set his revolver on a desk with the barrel pointing toward him in order to intimidate him.  Pattiz reponds, “This guy must be crazy.  I’ve never met alone with him.  I didn’t hire him or fire him.  I barely know who he is.  The fact that I’m a law enforcement reserve is well known as I have public service awards in my office.  I didn’t and would never act in the manner that’s been described… His allegations are absurd.”

Alliance for Women in Media ‘Women Who Lead’ Honorees Named.  At this November’s Women Who Lead luncheon, five women media executives are being honored by the Alliance for Women in Media at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.  The event “recognizes and celebrates women who have had a significant impact on the media industry, as trailblazers and extraordinary leaders in their chosen field.”  This year’s honorees are: Caroline Beasley, CEO, Beasley Broadcast Group; Amy Emmerich, chief content officer, Refinery29; Kathleen Finch, chief programming, content & brand officer, Scripps Networks; Susan Swain, co-CEO, C-SPAN; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks.  For more information about the event or to reserve your seat, click here.

Trump Tax Reform Plan, Roy Moore Victory, NFL Protests, Cost of Illegal Immigration, Puerto Rico Devastation, ObamaCare Repeal Efforts, Hugh Hefner Dies, Rick Pitino Corruption Case, MLB Playoff Push, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/27).  The outline of President Trump’s tax reform plan and his speech promoting the effort in Indianapolis; controversial former judge Roy Moore wins the GOP primary in the Alabama U.S. Senate race; ongoing debate over NFL players protesting during the singing of the national anthem; the FAIR study concluding illegal immigration costs taxpayers almost $116 billion per year; the lack of power, potable water and food in Hurricane Maria-stricken Puerto Rico; the efforts by the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act with the Graham-Cassidy Bill; Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dies at age 91; the federal investigation into corruption in Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino’s program; the final week of the regular season in Major League Baseball; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Cool News Radio Opportunity.  WNRP seeks a morning drive news anchor/reporter.  “NewsRadio1620 ▪ FM92.3” in Pensacola, Florida has an immediate opening for an experienced AM drive radio news anchor.  Join the team that local newspaper readers have twice voted “Best Morning Show.”  Includes news on sister station “CatCountry98.7.”  Strong writer, fast audio producer, conversational style, plus a passion for local news gathering.  Seven Edward R. Murrow awards for local news coverage.  FOX Radio News affiliate.  Independent and locally owned.  Excellent employee benefits, including 401k plan and health/dental/vision insurance.  Great lifestyle near beaches in NW Florida panhandle.  EOE. Send audio with resume here.

 

 

Clive Davis Visits ‘Jonesy’s Jukebox.’  Music biz legend Clive Davis visited Cumulus Media’s classic rock KLOS, Los Angeles on Tuesday (9/26) to chat with “Jonsey’s Jukebox” host Steve Jones about his new documentary film, Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, that opened in LA at Cinerama Dome/ArcLight Hollywood.  From KLOS, Davis also spoke with Matt Pinfield for “Flashback”; with WKQX, Chciago’s Brian & Lou; and WLS-AM, Chicago’s Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Evan Saxon of film distributor Abramorama, Davis, Jonesy, and film and music promoter Elliot KendallPhoto: Mark “Mr. Shovel” Sovel.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In Baltimore, rock programming pro Steve Huber moves from Hearst Communications’ WIYY “98Rock” to Times-Shamrock’s crosstown classic rocker WZBA “100.7 The Bay.”  The move lifts him from assistant PD to program director and takes effect on October 2.  WZBA general manager Jefferson Ward states, “We had a tremendous response to our open PD position and I had the chance to talk to a number of excellent programmers, people that might have easily been hired had Steve not come into our picture.  Steve is deeply passionate about radio and has a broad and strong skill set.  Those qualities along with his understanding of radio’s opportunities today and his vision about where radio can go made Steve a perfect fit for ‘100.7 The Bay.’”…..Alternative rock WRMR, Wilmington, North Carolina “Modern Rock 98.7” names Laura Lee program director and afternoon drive host.  Sunrise Broadcasting sought to replace Paul Cannell, who exited last month to join Cumulus Media’s New Orleans operations.   Lee was most recently with Adams Radio Group where she handled promotions director duties in Salisbury-Ocean City in addition to programming classic rock WGBG “BIG 98.5” and serving as music director and midday personality…..As reported in Billboard, Apple is now saying that it has hit the 30 million paid subscribers mark.  That compares with Spotify’s 60 million paid subscribers.  Neither service offers a free tier as do Pandora and iHeartRadio.  The story notes that income from the service is part of Apple’s larger Services segment that reported third quarter 2017 revenue of $7.3 billion, a year-over-year increase of 22%…..Superadio Networks announces an affiliation and sales agreement with Marvin Sapp’s Praise Place, LLC to syndicate his eponymous weekly Gospel radio show.  All affiliate and national advertising sales will be handled by Superadio and American Urban Radio Networks.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

| August 17, 2017

Hotchkiss Named to North Ohio Region President for iHeartMedia. This promotion takes Keith Hotchkiss from his regional SVP of sales for the company’s Virginia/Carolina region back to Northern Ohio to take on the region president role.  Hotchkiss started his radio career as an intern on rock WMMS, Cleveland more than 20 years ago.  Now, he’ll oversee iHeartMedia’s Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Lima, Ashland, Mansfield, Marion and Defiance markets. iHeartMedia president Midwest/Southeast division Tom McConnell states, “Keith is a natural leader and has a proven track record of success.  His experience as a market president and as a regional senior vice president of sales in iHeartMedia’s Virginia/Carolina Region, combined with his first-hand knowledge of the Northern Ohio markets makes him the perfect choice for this important role.”

KXTG, Portland Parts Ways with Dino Costa. Some two months after he made comments on his afternoon drive show on Alpha Media’s sports talk KXTG, Portland “750/102.9 The Game” suggesting motorists should hit Black Lives Matter protestors who block roadways, Dino Costa has been let go by the company, according to The Oregonian.  Earlier this week, the MLS’ Portland Timbers (whose games are carried on KXTG) issued a press statement distancing itself from Costa and his comments.  This drew renewed attention to the incident.  For its part, KXTG says at the time of Costa’s remarks, it took “immediate and aggressive action” against Costa.  But, the delayed blowback apparently forced Alpha Media’s hand and it has fired Costa.

WHLM, Bloomsberg Host David Reilly Resigns.  Embattled WHLM, Bloomsberg, Pennsylvania talk show host David Reilly resigned from the Columbia Broadcasting Corporation-owned news/talk station yesterday (8/16).  Reilly – whose father Joe Reilly serves as general manager for the station – had posted a video of the “UnitetheRight” march on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville that critics say had all the trappings of a Klan rally.  When the video got attention in Bloomsberg, the station endured protests and a number of advertisers reportedly cancelled their buys.  Reilly was suspended without pay earlier this week.  Now, Reilly has tendered his resignation and his father has accepted it.  In the resignation letter, David Reilly disavows any sympathy for neo-Nazis or white supremacists.

CBS Las Vegas Has Change of Heart; Will Cover New NHL Franchise. It appears a case of sour grapes caused CBS RADIO Las Vegas operations manager J.B. King to memo the staff that it was to cease all coverage – including reporting scores – of the market’s new NHL franchise, the Las Vegas Knights.  Several companies bid for the rights to be radio partners with the NHL expansion club but Lotus Communications won.  CBS RADIO Las Vegas market manager Tony Perlongo told the Washington Post, “With six radio stations in Las Vegas we have always prided ourselves on informing, educating and entertaining listeners and supporting the local communities we serve. However, we missed the mark in an internal email that instructed our stations to no longer report on certain aspects of the Golden Knights, the city’s first and only major league sports team. This was an error in judgment on our part and we deeply regret it. We will of course cover the team, first and foremost on Sports Radio 1140 and on our music and news/talk stations as it makes sense for those formats and audiences. We apologize to the Golden Knights, their fans and our listeners and look forward to rooting the team on when the puck drops in a few weeks.”

Beasley Partners with SonicAi for Alexa Skills.  The goal of this partnership is to make it easier for listeners using Amazon Echo to bring Beasley Media Group content into their homes.  Beasley is partnering with SonicAi – a partnership between mobile developer jācapps and Amplifi Media – to design the skills that represent more than just a way to play the station stream, highlighting specific station features.  Beasley says they will be heard across most of its 63 stations over the upcoming months.  Beasley Media Group executive vice president of digital Steve Meyers says, “Innovation in the smart speaker device space is critical for Beasley and our industry as a whole.  I’m excited to be partnering with SonicAi to extend the reach of our brands across the company and open up new opportunities in this space.”

TALKERS News Notes.  The board of directors of the New York State Broadcasters Association announces iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman is being honored as its “Broadcaster of the Year.”  He’ll be honored at the New York Broadcast Leadership and Hall of Fame Luncheon on October 19, at the Javits Center in New York City.  NYSBA president David Donovan says, “Bob Pittman is a true industry leader and perhaps the most creative, visionary and dynamic executive in broadcasting.  His views not only shape the radio industry, but the future of all media in this country.  We are deeply honored to recognize him as the “New York Broadcaster of the Year.”…..Rising from general sales manager to general manager of the Omaha cluster for Salem Media Group is Sue Garrett.  She’s been with the station group for the past seven years.  During her career, she’s been a market manager and sales manager for Cumulus Media and was a sales manager for iHeartMedia.  In Omaha, Salem operates news/talk KOTK “The Answer,” Christian teaching KCRO, and Christian contemporary KGBI-FM…..Today is the 19th annual Kicks 4 Guns event – a collaborative effort by iHeartMedia Orlando’s WTKS-FM “Real Radio 104.1” and non-profit organization Crimeline.  The program allows anyone to anonymously trade in unwanted firearms in exchange for a gift card.  Kicks 4 Guns is the brainchild of “The Monsters” ringleader Russ Rollins who got the idea for the event after he saw a news item about a boy who was murdered for his shoes.  Rollins hoped to create a gun buyback program that offers brand-new shoes in exchange for guns.  Over the past 19 years, Kicks 4 Guns has collected more than 10,000 unwanted guns, including illegal and stolen guns, pipe bombs, grenades, and a missile launcher…..Cumulus Media inks a renewal with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks for KESN-FM “ESPN 103.3 FM” to continue serving as the team’s flagship radio station through the 2022-2023 season.  The ESPN O&O is operated by Cumulus.  Chuck Cooperstein continues as play-by-play voice and Mike Peasley hosts the “Dallas Mavericks Insider” pre-game show as well as the “Mavs Postgame Show.”…..PodcastOne promotes Jim Ballas to vice president, technology and operations.  Ballas now oversees network digital initiatives and sales operations, including the website, app, dynamic insertion, virtual reality and reporting metrics.  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz states, “Jim Ballas has been with PodcastOne since its earliest days and his leadership in technology and sales operations has well-earned him a place on our executive team.”…..The Weekly Standard announces the re-launch of Tuesday Morning Quarterback – the celebrated weekly NFL column by Gregg Easterbrook.  It will debut on The Weekly Standard website on August 22.  Easterbrook says, “There will be a total eclipse of the sun, and the next day the football gods will smile as Tuesday Morning Quarterback returns.  I am very excited about TMQ on TWS.”  In addition to the column, TMQ will be featured on a weekly podcast starring Easterbrook and occasional guests, hosted by TWS editor-in-chief, Steve Hayes.

Hyper-Local Pioneer Valley Radio Making Gains in Western Massachusetts.  Launched by Springfield radio legend Brad Shepard, hyper-local online station, Pioneer Valley Radio (www.PioneerValleyRadio.com) celebrated the beginning of its third year of service by making a splashy presence at the annual Hampden County, MA Sheriff’s Picnic – the preeminent regional political/social event in Western Massachusetts (8/16).  The station’s format consists of 100% “personality-oriented public affairs programming” offering a growing menu of on-demand talk shows covering local politics, civics, education, public safety, business, health, dining, recreation, and arts & entertainment as well as live streaming remote coverage of news events, public forums and school sports.  The picnic hosted this year by the newly elected Sheriff Nick Cocchi drew several thousand local political, civic and business figures to the Elks Lodge in Springfield.  Pioneer Valley Radio provided seven hours of uninterrupted broadcast coverage from a prominent table-display at the event interviewing a parade of more than 35 public officials and figures.  Pictured, Pioneer Valley Radio GM/morning host Brad Shepard (l) interviewing recently retired Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe (r) who founded the annual picnic decades ago during his 42-year run as sheriff.

Charlottesville Aftermath, Confederate Statue Removals, Manufacturing Council Shuttered, Google Firing Protests Canceled, Sessions Addresses Sanctuary Cities, U.S.-North Korea Tensions, MLB Action, and NFL Pre-Season Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16).  The criticism of President Trump’s Charlottesville analysis and the conservative media’s suggestion the “alt-left” is to blame for the violence; the movement to take down monuments celebrating Confederate leaders; President Trump disbands the American Manufacturing Council after numerous CEOs quit; the cancelling of planned protests at Google offices over the firing of an engineer who questioned the company’s diversity policy; Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ address in Chicago criticizing sanctuary city policies; the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea; Major League Baseball action; and pre-season NFL activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder – morning radio personality Kathy Hart has broken her four-month silence about her absence from WTMX’s highly ratedEric & Kathy” program.  Hart wasn’t forthcoming about why she’s been gone and why she’s been silent, but she did say in a statement to the media, in part, “It has been challenging, mentally and physically, to be away for this long, especially on days like Friday for the live broadcast from Lurie Children’s for “Eric & Kathy’s Kids.”…I have always considered the ‘Mix’ and our listeners as family, and want to express my infinite gratitude to everyone who has reached out to me personally and supported me publicly. Please stay tuned as I fully intend to be back on the air!”  Read Feder’s piece here…..Cumulus Media promotes programming pro Danni Bruns to the operations manager post at its four-station Memphis cluster.  Bruns has been serving as program director and afternoon personality for rock WXMX “98.1 The Max.”  Now, she’ll also handle operations for sister stations country WGKX “KIX 106,” rhythmic oldies WRBO, and hip hop WKIM “98.9 The Vibe.”…..YEA Networks brings Scott Kerr aboard as director of affiliate sales and content.  He’s responsible for servicing and growing affiliates for “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” “The Bert Show,” “The Hollywood 5,” “Love Letters with Kellie & Matthew” and the socially connected Simple Booth…..SiriusXM is bringing two shows from its streaming platform to the satellite radio service. Turbo showcases hard rock from the 1990s and early 2000s from artists such as Linkin Park, Korn, Papa Roach, Godsmack, System Of A Down, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit and Disturbed.  PopRocks presents pop rock from the ’90s and 2000s, including The Killers, Coldplay, Sheryl Crow, Goo Goo Dolls, Train, No Doubt and Matchbox 20.

 

 

July PPM Takeaways. Below are TALKERS magazine editor Mike Kinosian‘s “Twelve Takeaways” based on the July PPM ratings information released by Nielsen Audio last week.  The 12 markets addressed today are: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s July 2017 survey period covered June 22 – July 19.  You can view all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

TWELVE TAKEAWAYS

1) Austin – As a result of making up in totality the seven-tenths it lost via four straight down or flat trends (4.3 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.6, 6+), Emmis-owned KLBJ-FM “93.7 The Rock of Austin” elevates from #12 to a three-way tie at #8 (4.3, +.7, 6+). In the process, it happens to leapfrog co-owned KLBJ-AM, which extends to seven its string of consecutive up or flat trends that has accounted for a cumulative +1.1 (3.0 – 3.6 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 4.0 – 4.0 – 4.1 – 4.1, 6+); the news/talk property, however, drops out of the top ten (#9 to #11). Another player in that three-way logjam at #8 is Entercom hot AC KAMX “Mix 94.7 – Today’s Best Mix,” which regains all but two-tenths of the -.7 it squandered this time last month (4.3, +.5, (up from #11, 6+). Entering the June sweep, “Mix” consistently registered a 6+-share between 4.1 – 4.6 in each of the previous 11 sweeps but fell to 3.8 (6+). Up a combined seven-tenths in June and July (3.1 – 3.3 – 3.8, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KLQB “Que Buena 104.3” climbs from #14 to #12. In addition to “Mix” and “Que Buena,” iHeartMedia-owned KASE “Austin’s #1 For New Country” picks up one-half share as well (4.5 – 5.0, eighth to sixth, 6+). Following three straight 4.6-showings (6+), KASE dropped one-tenth in June. On top for the sixth successive month, Emmis adult hits KBPA “Bob” adds two-tenths to June’s +1.1 (7.4 – 8.5 – 8.7, 6+). “Bob” was a combined -1.7 in April and May, with May’s 7.4 its lowest 6+-stat since June 2015’s 7.4. With the exception of October and the “Holiday” 2016 report, KBPA held the lead each month in calendar year 2016. Its regional Mexican cluster-mate KLZT “107.1 La Z” though forfeits all of June’s half-share increase and three-tenths more (5.4 – 4.6, -.8, 6+), sliding from fourth to seventh. Faltering by seven-tenths each are co-owned KROX “101-X Alternative Austin,” which falls out of the top ten with its third straight decrease (4.3 – 4.0 – 3.9 – 3.2, #10 to #14, 6+) and The University of Texas-owned KUT (6.8 – 6.1, flat at #2, 6+). Locked on 7.6 (6+) in January, February, and March, KUT followed with a 5.8 (April, 6+); 6.2 (May, 6+); and improved by six-tenths in June to 6.8 (6+). Flat at #16, Emmis triple A KGSR “93.3 Radio Austin” is within 2.0 – 2.9 range for the 17th time in a row (2.4 – 2.7, +.3, 6+). Without an increase for the fifth straight time for a net loss of nine-tenths (2.4 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 1.7 – 1.5, 6+), Entercom urban AC KKMJ-HD3 exits the top twenty (#20 to #21).

2) Raleigh – Granted, it might be a bit of a technicality, but the entry making the largest 6+ June 2017 – July 2017 increase in all 48 PPM-markets is the stream of Curtis Media Group adult hits WBBB “96.1 BBB, Your Life – Your Music,” which debuts at #14 with a 2.4 (6+). The actual FM signal of “96.1 BBB, Your Life – Your Music” registers its third successive increase for an overall gain of two full-shares and inches up from sixth to fifth (4.3 – 4.9 – 6.0 – 6.3, 6+). A gain of six-tenths in May halted three consecutive (modest) downward trends that accounted for a six-tenths’ loss (4.9 – 4.8 – 4.4 – 4.3, 6+). Down a collective eight-tenths in three straight dips (8.0 – 7.8 – 7.7 – 7.2, 6+), co-owned WQDR “94.7 – Today’s Best Country” recaptures more than half that loss with a +.5 to 7.7 (6+) and is in the runner-up slot for the third month in a row. In addition to repeating as the market’s pacesetter, Radio One urban AC WFXC “Today’s R&B and Classic Soul” is +1.4 in four straight improvements (6.8 – 7.2 – 7.5 – 8.1 – 8.2, 6+) and matches the 8.2 (6+) it posted last October. Following six straight gains that netted a +2.1 (2.8 – 3.3 – 3.4 – 3.6 – 3.8 – 4.4 – 4.9, 6+), Curtis Media Group CHR WPLW “The Pulse” surrenders nine-tenths to 4.0 (6+) and drops out of the top ten (#8 to #12). At the same time, a loss of seven-tenths takes iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WDCG “G-105 Raleigh’s #1 Hit Music Station” (fifth to sixth) to 6.2, its lowest 6+-share in exactly two years (6.2, as well, in July 2015). Thus, the market’s (6+) CHR erodes by -1.6 to 10.2. Dislodged from the penthouse in June (after four consecutive months there) and remaining in third-place in July is Capitol Broadcasting adult contemporary WRAL “Mix 101.5,” which is without an increase for the fifth sweep in a row for a combined -1.8 (8.8 – 8.5 – 8.5 – 8.4 – 7.1 – 6.9, 6+). While it remains at #4, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s WUNC is -1.8 in four straight negative trends (8.5 – 7.9 – 7.2 – 7.0 – 6.7, 6+). A quartet of Raleigh outlets have decreases of one-half share: iHeartMedia FM news/talk WTKK (#9 to #10, 6+); Radio One gospel WNNL “103.9 The Light” WNNL (3.8, #12 to #13, 6+); Capitol Broadcasting sports/talk WCMC “ESPN 99.9 – The Fan” (flat at #14, 6+); and Curtis Media Group regional Mexican WYMY “La Ley 101.1” (#15 to #16, 6+). This is WTKK’s fourth straight down or flat monthly for an overall -1.7 (6.0 – 6.0 – 5.4 – 4.8 – 4.3, 6+). After posting three straight increases for a combined +1.2 (4.8 – 5.0 – 5.3 – 6.0, 6+), “The Light” spiraled by -1.7 in June. In back-to-back sweeps (June 2017 and July 2017), “The Fan” is a combined -1.1 (3.5 – 2.9 – 2.4, 6+). This is the third straight half-share fluctuation for “La Ley 101.1,” which wiped out May’s half-share loss in June only to forfeit it in July (2.6 – 2.1 – 2.6 – 2.1, 6+). Off by three-tenths to 1.9 (6+), Radio Training Network contemporary Christian WRTP “HIS Radio” (#16 to #17) halts at six its consecutive streak of up or flat trends that more than quintupled its 6+-share since “Holiday” 2016 (.4 – .6 – .7 – .7 – .8 – 1.5 – 2.2, 6+).

3) Indianapolis – Off by a combined nine-tenths in May and June (4.2 – 3.5 – 3.3, 6+), Radio One rhythmic CHR WHHH roars back with a +1.1 to 4.4 – its strongest 6+-share since last November’s 5.0; “Hot 96.3” climbs from #13 to #11. In a somewhat similar scenario, Emmis’ WLHK wipes out an overall -.6 in May and June (6.0 – 5.6 – 5.4, 6+) with a July improvement of seven-tenths to 6.1, its highest 6+-share since May 2016, as “Country 97.1 Hank FM” progresses from seventh to fifth. Having plummeted by -2.8 as the result of five consecutive down or flat trends (7.1 – 6.2 – 5.6 – 5.6 – 4.4 – 4.3, 6+), Radio One urban AC WTLC-FM “Indy’s R&B Leader” answers with a gain of six-tenths to 4.9 (6+) and moves from tenth to eighth. Advancing from third to second, iHeartMedia-owned WFBQ “Q-95 Rocks” registers its seventh successive improvement for an overall +2.4 (4.6 – 5.3 – 5.6 – 5.8 – 6.0 – 6.4 – 6.7 – 7.0, 6+). Major ups and downs continue for WKLU “Positive & Encouraging K-Love.” As the result of three straight January through April downward trends (7.3 – 6.9 – 6.6 – 6.3, 6+), the Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian station was off by one full-share. It bounced back with a +1.1 in May only to falter by -1.2 in June (6.3 – 7.4 – 6.2, 6+); however, “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” adds six-tenths in July to 6.8 (6+), marching from sixth to third. Despite being off by one-half share (8.2 – 7.7, 6+), Entercom CHR WZPL is #1 for the seventh consecutive sweep; June’s 8.2 matches its highest 6+-stat since December 2015. By dropping one-tenth to 4.9 (6+), hot AC cluster-mate WNTR has its string of up or flat trends that netted a collective +1.5 (3.5 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 5.0, 6+) halted at five; nonetheless, “107.9 The Mix – Better Variety for a Better Workday” actually improves from ninth to eighth. Eroding by nine-tenths each are Cumulus Media’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” (5.8, third to seventh, 6+) and Emmis sports talk WFNI “The Fan” (1.7, #14 to #16, 6+). WFMS was a combined +.8 in May and June (5.9 – 6.5 – 6.7, 6+), while “The Fan” picked up a collective half-share via four straight up or flat trends (2.1 – 2.1 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 2.6, 6+). Slipping by six-tenths each are its adult contemporary and news/talk siblings WYXB “Soft Rock B-105.7” (6.5, second to fourth, 6+) and WIBC “Indy’s News Center” (4.7, eighth to tenth, 6+). By replicating May’s seven-tenths’ increase in June (3.9 – 4.6 – 5.3, 6+), WIBC reached the five-share level (6+) for the first time since February 2016’s 5.0; “B-105.7” is below a seven-share (6+) for the first time since January’s 6.7.

4) Milwaukee – Notwithstanding that a wide ranker and AQH share gap currently exists between them, both iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WRIT “95.7 Big FM – Milwaukee’s Greatest Hits” (9.9 – 10.7, #1 for the 28th consecutive time, 6+) and Milwaukee Radio Alliance’s WZTI “Milwaukee’s True Oldies Channel” (#18 to #14, 6+) register spikes of eight-tenths. It is the fourth straight gain for WZTI, which has more than tripled its 6+-share since March (.6 – .7 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.9, 6+). As for “Big FM,” is rebounds from a combined -1.6 in back-to-back sweeps (11.5 – 10.3 – 9.9, 6+) and returns to double-digits (6+) for the fourth time in the last five sweeps. Recent “Big” month-to-month moves include +1.7 (October 2015); -.7 (November 2015); +5.6 (“Holiday” 2015); -5.7 (January 2016); +1.3 (February); +1.1 (April); -.6 (May); -1.1 (August); -.6 (September) +1.2 (November); -.5 (December); +2.1 (“Holiday” 2016); -2.4 (January 2017); +2.5 (March); -1.2 (May); and now +.8 (July). An interesting development has occurred in the CHR scrum, following a June increase of three-tenths (6+) by both iHeartMedia’s WRNW “97-3 Now – Milwaukee’s #1 For All The Hits” and Entercom-owned WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM.” Via four straight improvements, “Now” is up by an overall full-share (2.8 – 3.0 – 3.3 – 3.6 – 3.8, 6+) and shifts from #14 to #12, but “Kiss” – which was 4.9 and ninth in June (6+) disappears from print. Advancing from seventh to fifth, co-owned WMIL “FM 106.1 Milwaukee’s Best Country” is up or flat for the third time in a row for a net gain of four-tenths (5.1 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.5, 6+), while Scripps’ WKTI “94.5 KTI Country” posts its second straight (modest) gain (3.7 – 3.8 – 4.0, 6+) and matches its 4.0 in March to climb from #13 to #11. Having notched a 5.5 (6+) in three of the last four survey periods, Saga Communications’ WHQG “102.9 The Hog – Everything That Rocks” regresses by six-tenths (5.5 – 4.9, 6+), slipping from sixth to seventh. The down/up pattern that Milwaukee Radio Alliance adult contemporary WLDB began in January (4.6 – 4.3 – 5.0 – 4.4 – 5.0 – 4.6, 6+) ends in July as “B-93.3” is off by one-half share to 4.1 (6+), but remains at #10. Not higher than 1.5 or lower than 1.1 over the course of the last 18 sweeps – which covers March 2016 through July 2017, public triple A WYMS (#17 to #15) has a 6+-line of: 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.2 – 1.1 – 1.2 – 1.4 – 1.4.

5) Nashville – Part of a three-way June logjam for the runner-up slot, Midwest Communications’ adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack-FM – Playing What We Want” doubles June’s gain of six-tenths with a +1.2 (7.1 – 8.3, 6+) and marches to #1. Prior to a -.7 in May, Nashville’s “Jack” was up or flat the previous four months gaining +1.9 (5.3 – 6.9 – 6.9 – 7.2 – 7.2, 6+). Not only does the station that “Jack” dislodges at #1 (after a brief one-month run) – iHeartMedia-owned WNRQ – segue to #2, “105.9 Nashville’s Classic Rock” drops four-tenths to 7.4 (6+), thus pulling the plug on three straight improvements that netted a collective +1.4 (6.4 – 6.7 – 7.3 – 7.8). Owing to a spike of nine-tenths to 2.5 (6+), Nashville Public Radio classical WFCL ends at four its skein of down or flat monthlies that generated an overall loss of one-half share (2.1 – 1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.6, 6+) and progresses from #18 to #15. Entering the June sweep, co-owned WPLN was down in each of the previous three survey periods for an overall -1.3 (5.4 – 5.0 – 4.7 – 4.1, 6+), but “News 90.3” is a combined +1.5 in June and July (4.1 – 4.8 – 5.6, 6+), climbing from eighth to seventh. Simultaneous with Cromwell Group urban AC WPRT-HD2 improving by one-half share (.6 – 1.1, #18, 6+), co-owned WPRT-FM “The Game” spirals by nine-tenths to .9 (6+) and departs the top twenty (#16 to #22). When “The Game” dropped six-tenths in June, it curtailed at four a successive string of up or flat trends that more than doubled its 6+-stat (1.1 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.6 – 2.4, 6+). Elsewhere in the sports talk arena, Cumulus Media’s WGFX regresses by six-tenths (3.3 – 2.7, 6+) to slide from #13 to #14. In June, “104.5 The Zone” returned in its entirety May’s one-half share increase. Prior to May’s +.5, “The Zone” plummeted by more than four full-shares in six successive decreases (7.6 – 6.8 – 5.9 – 5.3 – 3.9 – 3.8 – 3.3, 6+). Meanwhile, the market’s (6+) share for CHR erodes by -1.5 as Midwest Communications-owned WNFN “106.7 Nashville’s New Hit Music” forfeits twice as much of its one-half share gain in June (3.3 – 2.3, -1.0, #13 to #16, 6+), while iHeartMedia’s WRVW “107.5 The River” (second to third) follows up June’s -.6 with a -.5 (7.7 – 7.1 – 6.6, 6+). The loss of six-tenths in June ended at three WRVW’s consecutive string of increases which netted a +1.8 (5.9 – 6.6 – 7.2 – 7.7, 6+). February’s 5.9 was the first time “The River” had been below a six-share (6+) since June 2011 (5.9, as well). Off by an overall nine-tenths in three successive downward moves (7.5 – 7.2 – 7.1 – 6.6, 6+), urban contemporary sibling WUBT “101.1 The Beat Nashville’s Home for Hip-Hop and R&B” has an identical 6+ profile as “The River”: 7.1 – 6.6, second to third. Nine-tenths is the collective margin of decline as well for Cromwell alternative WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz,” which dips in back-to-back sweeps (4.0 – 3.8 – 3.1, #11 to #12, 6+).

6) Providence –  Owing to four (modest) increases in a row (4.8 – 4.9 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 5.3, 6+), iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWBB “B-101” gains a cumulative one-half share and carries on in sixth-place. After dropping six-tenths in both May and June (11.0 – 10.4 – 9.8, 6+), Cumulus Media adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” bounces back with a gain of two-tenths to an even 10.0 (6+) and is #1 for the 22nd consecutive ratings period. Having eroded by more than seven full-shares in January to 10.7 (6+), WWLI was a combined -.4 in February and March (10.7 – 10.6 – 10.3, 6+) and then up seven-tenths in April. Frozen on 7.7 (6+) in “Holiday” 2016 and January 2017, and then on 8.2 (6+) in February and March, iHeartMedia-owned WHJY picked up a combined nine-tenths in three consecutive progressive trends (8.2 – 8.3 – 8.6 – 9.1, 6+). “Providence’s Home of Rock and Roll” though surrenders all but one-tenth of that increase in July (8.3, -.8, 6+) and falls from second to fourth. June’s 9.1 represents the highest 6+-share for WHJY in just over one year (9.2, May 2016). As a result of replicating June’s -.7 for a combined -1.4 (9.8 – 9.1 – 8.4, 6+), Cumulus Media CHR WPRO-FM “Today’s Hit Music” all but wipes out May’s +1.5. In advance of the May ratings period, WPRO-FM had been trending 8.7 – 8.5 – 8.6 – 8.3 (6+); 9.8 was its highest 6+-share since February 2015 (also 9.8). For the fifth time in the last ten survey periods and second time in a row, rhythmic CHR cluster-mate WWKX notches a 2.5 (6+) as “Hot 106.3” continues at #9. While steady in fifth-place, iHeartMedia hot AC WSNE “Coast 93.3” has its third straight decrease for an overall loss of -1.1 (6.6 – 6.0 – 5.7 – 5.5, 6+) and its lowest 6+-share since 4.6 in “Holiday” 2016. Up or flat in each of the last five survey periods for an overall increase of seven-tenths since January (1.5 – 1.6 – 1.9 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2, 6+), Boston public news/talk WGBH-FM drops six-tenths to 1.6 (6+), but remains at #10.

7) Norfolk – Without a loss for the seventh time in a row for an overall increase of +1.4 (2.7 – 2.7 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 3.1 – 3.5 – 3.9 – 4.1, 6+), Entercom hot AC WPTE “94.9 The Point” continues in seventh-place. In a classic case of the rich get richer, Entercom urban AC WVKL “95-7 Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” trots out a +1.4 (12.0 – 13.4, 6+) and is #1 for the seventh successive sweep, after an earlier tenure of 55 consecutive ratings periods on top. It has registered a 6+-share of 11.0 or higher for the 15th time in the last 16 ratings periods. Furthermore, 13.4 is the highest 6+-stat reached by any Norfolk station in the PPM-era, with WVKL accomplishing the feat several times, the most recent in January 2015. The only other station in the market to do so is co-owned adult contemporary WWDE “2WD,” which logged 13.4 (6+) once. There is a little more history from this Virginia metro in the July 2017 sweep: Over and above marching from third to second by notching a gain of six-tenths, Saga Communications’ WNOR “FM 99 Rocks” hits 7.4, the highest 6+ share in its history as a PPM subscriber. Meanwhile, following its 7.4 (6+) in the “Holiday” 2016 sweep, iHeartMedia rhythmic hot AC WMOV has recorded a 6+-share within 2.2 – 2.8 range, but “Movin’ 107.7 The Rhythm of Hampton Roads” drops six-tenths to 2.1 (6+) as it segues from eighth to ninth. After being in the runner-up slot the past five sweeps (the last three with a 7.3, 6+), urban contemporary cluster-mate WOWI “103 Jamz – Norfolk’s #1 for Hip-Hop and R&B” trades places with WNOR by slipping to #3 (7.0, -.3, 6+). For the fourth straight month, aforementioned WWDE “2WD” (flat at #6) fails to make an increase and is -1.7 since March (6.0 – 5.3 – 5.1 – 4.3 – 4.3, 6+).

8) Greensboro – Continuing on a seesaw, Entercom’s country-formatted WPAW “93.1 The Wolf” adds seven-tenths (6.3 – 7.0, 6+) to advance from sixth to fifth. It was a cumulative +1.5 in January and February (4.8 – 5.6 – 6.3, 6+); eroded by seven-tenths in March; bounced back with a combined +1.0 in April and May; and lost three-tenths in June. This is the highest 6+-share for Greensboro’s “Wolf” since its 7.1 in January 2015. It helps enable WPAW to pull ahead of iHeartMedia’s WTQR “New Country Q-104.1,” which is off three-tenths (7.3 – 6.9, fourth to sixth, 6+), snapping at six a consecutive string of up or flat trends that yielded a +2.5 (4.7 – 5.7 – 5.9 – 5.9 – 6.1 – 6.3 – 7.2, 6+). On the heels of three straight negative trends that accounted for a -1.1 (6.8 – 6.7 – 5.9 – 5.7, 6+), adult contemporary sibling WMAG answers with a combined June and July +1.4 (5.7 – 6.5 – 7.1, 6+), allowing “99.5 – The Triad’s Best Mix” to inch up from fifth to fourth. Ahead of it (continuing) at #3 is Entercom adult hits WSMW “98.7 Simon (says) We Play Everything,” which wipes out June’s -.4 with a gain of one-half share (8.8 – 9.3, 6+). While it repeats at #1 and achieves double-digits (6+) for the eighth straight sweep, urban AC cluster-mate WQMG “97.1 QMG The Best R&B and Old School” hands over roughly half of the whopping +1.5 it notched in June (11.6 – 10.9, -.7, 6+); 11.6 is its most potent 6+-share in over three years (11.9, March 2014). In addition to placing first in June and July, WQMG occupied the top spot in January, February, and March, as well. Up or flat in four consecutive ratings periods accounting for a +1.2 (9.7 – 9.7 – 10.1 – 10.5 – 10.9, 6+), WQMG surrendered six-tenths in March. Spiraling by seven-tenths as well is iHeartMedia CHR WMKS “100.3 Kiss FM,” which has its third decrease in a row for an overall loss of -1.2 (4.2 – 3.9 – 3.7 – 3.0, 6+) and its softest 6+-share since January 2014’s 2.9. Unchanged at #7, rock sibling WVBZ “105.7 – Man Up!” sputters by four-tenths to 4.3 (6+), thus pulling the plug on six consecutive increases (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.3 – 4.7, 6+) that netted a +1.7. Having strung together three straight improvements for a combined +1.2 (9.5 – 9.9 – 10.1 – 10.7, 6+), Entercom rhythmic CHR WJMH “102 Jamz” (flat at #2) follows with an equal number of consecutive losses that has accounted for a collective -1.1 (10.7 – 10.4 – 10.1 – 9.6, 6+). “Jamz” had been in double-digits (6+) 10 times in the previous 12 survey periods.

9) West Palm Beach – In addition to posting its third straight increase for an overall +1.1 (9.3 – 9.4 – 9.5 – 10.4, 6+), Alpha Media hot AC WRMF “97.9 Variety from the 90s and Now” ranks first for the seventh consecutive month and has its strongest 6+-share since November 2015’s 11.3. Prior to “Holiday” 2016, WRMF was #1 the previous five ratings periods. It fell to second in July 2016, after 23 successive sweeps at #1. A collective +1.3 in three straight gains entering the June sweep (4.3 – 4.5 – 4.9 – 5.6, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WLDI is now an overall -1.6 in back-to-back monthlies (5.6 – 5.1 – 4.0, 6+) as “Wild 95.5 – The Palm Beaches’ #1 Hit Music Station” drifts from fifth to eighth. Having posted a 3.1 (6+) in three of the past four ratings periods, Dade County School Board news/talk WLRN sputters by seven-tenths to 2.4 (6+) and segues from ninth to tenth. Over the last two sweeps, Alpha Media-owned WIRK “103.1 – South Florida’s Country Music” is a combined -1.4 (5.9 – 5.1 – 4.6, fifth to seventh, 6+). Surrendering one-half share is WAY Media contemporary Christian WAYF “Uplifting-Upbeat-Real” (flat at #5) which – in the last eight survey periods – is +.5 (“Holiday” 2016); -1.1 (January); +.5 in February; -.7 (March); +1.4 in April; -.5 in May; +.7 in June; and now -.5 in July (4.3 – 4.8 – 3.7 – 4.2 – 3.5 – 4.9 – 4.4 – 5.1 – 4.6, 6+). Off by one-half share as well is Alpha Media’s WFTL “News Talk 850” (#13 to #15), which is down or flat for the fourth straight time for a roughly 50% loss of its 6+-share (1.5 – 1.5 – 1.2 – 1.2 – .7, 6+). Simultaneous with co-owned adult contemporary WEAT “Sunny 107.9” losing three tenths after June’s -1.1 (6.5 – 5.4 – 5.1, flat at #3, 6+, iHeartMedia-owned and similarly-programmed WOLL “Today’s Kool 105.5” rebounds from June’s loss of eight-tenths by adding three-tenths (5.1 – 4.3 – 4.6, 6+) to jump from eighth to fifth. This is the lowest 6+-share for “Sunny” since its 4.6 in November 2015. Following three successive months without a gain in which it lost more than two full-shares (6.6 – 5.9 – 4.5 – 4.5, 6+), “Today’s Kool 105.5” was a combined +.6 in April and May (4.5 – 4.6 – 5.1, 6+). The market’s other AC – JVC Media’s WSVU “South Florida’s 95.9 – The Palm,” is without an increase for the fourth time in a row and down approximately 50% in that timeframe (1.3 – 1.3 – 1.2 – .9 – .7, 6+), yet actually improves from #16 to a tie at #15.

10) Jacksonville – Wild fluctuations continue for iHeartMedia urban-rhythmic oldies WSOL, whose April -.6 put an end to its 4.9 – 5.1 – 5.1 – 4.9 (6+) sequence. “V-101.5,” bounced back with a +.8 in May, only to surrender -.7 in June; and now erupts with a massive +1.7 in July (4.4 – 6.1, seventh to sixth, 6+). This is its highest 6+-performance since 6.3 in May 2016. In recapturing in totality the one-half share it lost in June, Cox Media Group-owned WXXJ “X-102.9 Jacksonville’s New Alternative” moves into the top ten (4.0 – 3.5 – 4.0, #11 to #9, 6+). Prior to June’s -.5, “X-102.9” had been up or flat in each of the last five sweeps netting seven-tenths (3.3 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.7 – 3.8 – 4.0, 6+). Albeit down by six-tenths (12.2 – 11.6, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WQIK “99.1 – Jacksonville’s Country” is nonetheless the market pacesetter for the seventh straight time. A January +2.1 to 12.8 produced its best-ever (6+) PPM-performance. The five most recent stats for Renda Broadcasting adult contemporary WEJZ “96.1 Jacksonville’s Official Work Station” are 7.6 – 7.9 – 7.6 – 7.6 – 7.9 (March 2017 through July 2017, steady from June at #4, 6+), while Cox Media Group’s similarly-formatted WEZI “Easy 106.5” (#13 to #12) is trending 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 2.7 (6+) since April. Within 4.1 – 4.5 (6+) territory the past five sweeps, iHeartMedia-owned CHR WKSL plummets by nine-tenths (4.3 – 3.4, 6+) and not only exits the top ten (#9 to #11), “97.9 Kiss FM” has its weakest 6+-showing since November 2013’s 3.3. Faltering by one-half share each are Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies WJGL-FM “96.9 The Eagle” (9.6 – 9.1, unchanged at #2, 6+) and public news/talk WJCT (3.1 – 2.6, #12 to #13, 6+). “The Eagle” was up nine-tenths in June and while its urban contemporary HD2 side channel floundered by one-half share in May and June (2.9 – 2.4 – 1.9, 6+), it picks up three-tenths to 2.2, but stays at #14 (6+).

11) Memphis – Adding nine-tenths onto the three-tenths it picked up in June, Entercom adult contemporary WRVR “104.5 The River Continuous Soft Rock” registers a 6.9, its best 6+-stat since 7.4 in March, to jump from sixth to fourth. As the result of three straight sweeps without a decrease (6.5 – 7.4 – 7.5 – 8.3 – 8.3, 6+), iHeartMedia urban contemporary WHRK is a collective +1.8 and “K-97 Memphis’ Only Hip-Hop and R&B” is in third-place for the fourth month in a row. Not only is urban AC cluster-mate KJMS up or flat for the seventh straight time for a collective gain of +1.4 (8.8 – 9.0 – 9.3 – 9.3 – 9.5 – 9.9 10.2, 6+), “V-101” is #1 for the sixth successive time. It held that same position for ten consecutive monthlies before sliding to #2 in “Holiday” 2016; “V-101” was up by two-tenths in February to halt nine consecutive down or flat trends that yielded a -3.7 since May 2016 (12.5 – 11.6 – 10.7 – 10.5 – 10.2 – 9.9 – 9.9 – 9.3 – 9.3 – 8.8, 6+). The last time it was in double-digits (6+) was in September 2016 (10.2, as well). Up (modestly) or flat the last three survey periods for a net gain of three-tenths (4.5 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 4.8, 6+) – and with a 6+-share consistently between 4.2 and 4.8 since last December – Cumulus Media’s WXMX “98.1 The Max, Maximum Rock” freefalls by one full-share to 3.8, but carries on in eighth-place. In eight straight down or flat sweeps, iHeartMedia CHR KWNW has lost one full-share (1.9 – 1.8 – 1.4 – 1.2 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.0 – .9 – .9, 6+) but “101.9 Kiss FM – All The Hits” manages to move from #17 to #15. It is a mixed-bag for the market’s country outlets as Cumulus Media’s WGKX “Kix 106 – Today’s Best Country” is off by four-tenths to 5.5 (flat at #7, 6+) after back-to-back increases produced a +1.0 (4.9 – 5.2 – 5.9, 6+), while Entercom’s WLFP “94.1 The Wolf” adds two-tenths to June’s +.8 and continues at #11 (2.4 – 3.2 – 3.4, 6+).

12) Hartford – By dialing up a gain of seven-tenths (5.7 – 6.4, 6+), CBS Radio CHR WKSS “Kiss 95.7 All The Hits” climbs from seventh to sixth with its strongest 6+-showing since June 2016’s 6.5. At the same time that co-owned hot AC WTIC-FM “Hartford’s Best Variety” (off eight-tenths in June) improves by one-half share (7.8 – 8.3 third to second, 6+), its news/talk sibling WTIC-AM plummets by -1.6 (fifth to eighth, 6+). When “Hartford’s Best Variety” lost four-tenths in May, it stopped at six its consecutive string of positive or flat trends that produced a cumulative +2.1 (6.9 – 7.2 – 7.2 – 7.2 – 7.6 – 8.3 – 8.6 – 9.0, 6+). In what is now WTIC-AM’s sixth consecutive decline, it has spiraled by a collective -3.7 (8.8 – 8.3 – 8.1 – 7.3 – 6.9 – 6.7 – 5.1, 6+) and has its lowest 6+-share in nearly two years (4.8, 6+, August 2015). Down one tick (10.0 – 9.9, 6+), adult contemporary sibling WRCH “Lite 100.5” remains at #1 for the 11th successive ratings period. It had been in double-digits (6+) eight times in the previous nine sweeps. “Lite” was up by a cumulative nine-tenths in February and March (10.2 – 10.5 – 11.1, 6+), but then down by an overall -1.4 in April and May (11.1 – 10.0 – 9.7, 6+). Entering the September sweep, WRCH was on top for 15 straight ratings periods and 23 of the previous 24; however, it decreased by -1.1 and dropped to second-place. Its online stream remains at .5 (6+) although it rises from #15 to #14. A combined +1.7 in four consecutive sweeps without a decrease (7.1 – 76 – 7.6 – 7.8 – 8.8, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WWYZ reached the eight-share level (6+) in June for the first time since last December’s 8.2, but “Country 92-5” returns one-half share (8.8 – 8.3, 6+) and is in a second-place tie with WTIC-FM. Fading by one-half share as well (to its lowest 6+-share since February’s 4.9) is Connoisseur Media-owned WDRC-FM “102.9 The Whale Hartford’s Classic Rock” (5.7 – 5.2, 6+), which carries on in seventh-place.

Friday, July 28, 2017

| July 28, 2017

Entercom Reports Second Quarter Net Revenue Rises 3%.  With the pending EntercomCBS RADIO merger front-and-center in the radio news these days, when Entercom president and CEO David Field talks, people listen.  Analysts and industry watchers were no doubt eager to hear what Field had to say about the merger process and here’s what he told them on this morning’s conference call.  “We’ve made good progress towards completing the transaction. We’re well along in our post-merger integration work, developing our plans to optimize our structure, practices and strategies to ensure we move quickly and effectively to capitalize on the opportunities in front of us.  And we have entered into letters of intent on all of our planned divestitures with strong interest from a significant number of various parties for the various stations and we’re pleased with the outcome of this process.  That said, we’re still working to achieve approval from the Department of Justice on the divestiture plan and are in the midst of that process.  We believe we’ll remain on schedule for closing in the second half of this year.”  To the numbers, Entercom reports net revenue of $125 million during the second quarter of 2017, an increase of 3% compared to the same period a year ago.   Same station net revenue was up 1%, excluding political.  In a statement, Field says, “We continue to make great progress in our planning for our transformational merger with CBS RADIO that will make us the #1 provider of original, local audio content in the U.S. and create the scale to compete with other media for a larger share of ad spending.  As we meet with clients, agencies, and strategic partners, we are more confident than ever about the value-creating opportunities ahead.  Second quarter revenues increased 3% as reported, and up 1% on a same-station basis ex-political.  Expenses were up more than usual due to our acquisition in Charlotte, some significant one-time-only expenses and additional costs related to building the organization in anticipation of the merger.  We expect expense growth to recede in the third quarter and look for meaningful margin expansion post-closing.”  As of June 30, Entercom had outstanding $467.6 million of senior debt under its credit facilities and $27.7 million in perpetual cumulative convertible preferred stock.  The company reports $8.6 million in cash on hand.

SiriusXM Q2 Revenue Up 9%; Subscribers Top 32 Million. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM is reporting 2017 second quarter financial numbers, led by “record” revenue of $1.3 billion, up 9% compared to Q2 of 2016.  Net income was $202 million in the second quarter, up 16% from $175 million in 2016.  The company’s free cash flow rose 6% to $417 million.  During the quarter, SiriusXM added 466,000 net new self-pay subscribers, putting its total self-pay subscribers at nearly 26.7 million.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “In the second quarter, SiriusXM continued its strong track record of execution and demand for our premium content bundle pushed our listener base to an all-time high of more than 32 million paying subscribers. We are pleased to raise our full-year guidance for net self-pay subscriber additions, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA. We also made tremendous progress on strategic initiatives in the second quarter with the closing of our recapitalization of SiriusXM Canada, our acquisition of Automatic Labs, and our agreement to acquire a minority stake in Pandora Media.”

TALKERS Hears: Westwood One Signs Syndication Agreement with Walter Sabo.  TALKERS magazine hears that, according to unconfirmed inside sources, Westwood One has signed an agreement to syndicate a three-hour radio show hosted by Walter Sabo.  Sabo, CEO of the New York-based consultation firm Sabo Media, has been hosting a live, weekly two-hour talk show at 11:00 pm on Sunday nights on CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia for the past several years.  He uses the on-air name Walter Sterling.  The pact is the result of conversations between CBS RADIO and Cumulus Media to make the Walter Sterling Show (a CBS property) available to Cumulus stations and others in the late night weekend slot including an extra third hour.  TALKERS editors who have been listening describe the show as a departure from typical “left versus right” political news/talk fare focusing largely on social, family, and cultural issues of current life.  Noted radio impresario Kraig Kitchin is reportedly managing Sabo’s emerging on-air career and negotiated the deal. NEXT WEEK:  TALKERS will be presenting a special feature story by managing editor Mike Kinosian detailing the history of Walter Sabo’s colorful career from being a wunderkind 20-something radio executive in the 1970s and 1980s with ABC and NBC through his work as a leading consultant in the 1990s and early 2000s – culminating with his emerging presence as an on-air talent today.

Longtime KTRS, St. Louis Personality Frank O. Pinion Exiting.  After more than 20 years onFrank the St. Louis talk station, afternoon drive host Frank O. Pinion, a.k.a. John Craddock, will wrap his deal with CH Holding’s KTRS on September 14. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Craddock told his listeners that the parting was not amicable – he’s resigned – and that he’s not retiring either.  The paper reports that Craddock is not a KTRS employee but an independent contractor who brokers the show, getting inventory to sell.  Read the Post-Dispatch story here.

Jon Kelly Takes Control of SummitMedia LLC.  The company announces that shareholder and private investor Jon Kelly reaches an agreement to purchase the controlling interest in SummitMedia LLC held by Highpoint Holdings.  SummitMedia chairman/CEO Carl Parmer states, “Jon has been our largest individual shareholder since inception and we are delighted he will become our controlling shareholder, pending FCC approval.  Not only is he a good friend, but he and his family have a long and incredibly successful history in broadcasting in the United States.  His commitment to SummitMedia positions us to take advantage of strategic opportunities and grow our platform in the years ahead.”

Conclave 42.  Consultant Holland Cooke (pictured above with conference chair Lori Lewis, VP/social for Cumulus Media/Westwood One) reports from Minneapolis with his notes on the Conclave Summer Learning Conference.  Among the topics discussed at this year’s conference were: the possibilities for radio with the growth of smart speakers, podcast strategies for radio personalities, the future of radio’s place in the car, and more.  See Cooke’s coverage here.

Salem Hosts at the White House.  Pictured above are some of the Salem Radio Network personalities and some of the hosts whose shows air on Salem Media Group-owned news/talk stations at this week’s “Made In America” radio remote from the White House.  Clockwise from left: Kevin McCullough (WNYM, New York), Joe Piscopo (WNYM, New York), Salem SVP spoken word format Phil Boyce, Craig Silverman (KNUS, Denver) and his son, SRN’s Eric Metaxas and Larry Elder.

Talking Issues with Jon Lovitz. “Saturday Night Live” alum Jon Lovitz (right) is pictured here with talk radio star Lars Larson (left) at Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland studios. Larson tells TALKERS magazine that Lovitz appeared on his radio show and talked “Trump, guns, Caitlyn Jenner and a lot of other things.”

TALKERS News Notes. With the goal of making its 34 radio stations in 13 states available on to Amazon Alexa-supported devices, E.W. Scripps enlists XAPPmedia.  XAPP VP of sales Ryan Higbie says, “We are honored to work with Scripps to bring Amazon Alexa users access to its radio stations’ original audio content.  The technology offers an immersive experience for users to listen to their favorite radio programs on demand.  XAPP is committed to helping Scripps make the most of this new distribution channel and build deeper listener relationships at the same time.”…..SiriusXM announces comedian and actor Godfrey begins hosting a daily show on the Urban View channel on Monday (7/31).  “The Power Hour” will air daily from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm and feature “dynamic and often provocative conversations on politics, pop culture, and social issues in Godfrey’s relaxed, comedic style.”

ObamaCare Repeal and Replace Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 24-28.  The GOP’s attempts to vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and efforts to craft a replacement health care plan tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  At #2 was the threat by new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci to fire the entire West Wing to stop leaks to the press.  Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s ban on transgender soldiers in the military, followed by the announcement by Foxconn of plans for a new plant in Wisconsin at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/28) with Memorial Tribute to Alan Colmes by Jim Bohannon.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are:

–          The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).

–          The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).

–          The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).

–          The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).

–          The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan BearmanBold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein.  All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.

–          A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.”  They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess(introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri), a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA  Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young, and a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues collectively titled, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?” featuring a conversation between WRHU, Hofstra University OM John T. Mullen and WRFH, Hillsdale College GM Scot Bertram; a conversation between The New Normal CEO/founder/host Tom Leykis and syndicated host Michael Berry; a conversation between The Weiss AgencyEVP Heather Cohen and Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade; and a conversation between WPHT, Philadelphia host Dom Giordano and GCN syndicated host Dr. Daliah Wachs  (facilitated by WOR, New York APD Scott Lakefield). At the conclusion, Dr. Wachs is presented the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” award by Michael Harrison.

–          TODAY (7/28) we posted the second of a series of three memorial tributes by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon dedicated to major talk show personalities and longtime TALKERS Convention participants who passed away this past year:  Tom MarrDr. Joy Browne and Alan Colmes.  Today’s posted tribute is for Alan Colmes. Dr. Joy Browne’s tribute will be posted on Monday.  (Introduction by Stephan Multimedia CEO/host, Doug Stephan.)

Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Charlotte, air personality JT Bosch is named the afternoon drive host and assistant program director at iHeartMedia’s country WKKT “96.9 The Kat.”  Effective August 14, Bosch begins hosting the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm show.  Bosch was most recently with the company as APD/evening personality at WMZQ, Washington.  iHeartMedia Virginia-Carolina Region president Dave Carwile states, “I’m excited to have JT in Charlotte and involved in the programming of WKKT.  He is familiar with the area and his experience in both programming and on-air is unrivaled.”…..Carson Daly is resigning from his morning show duties at CBS RADIO’s KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio,” in order to focus on his television projects and his other radio work.  He told his radio listeners that his desire to spend more time with his wife and three kids was a big factor in the decision.  “I just want to have breakfast with my kids,” he said.  Daly will still produce the weekend radio countdown show “Daly Download” while handling television duties that include hosting “The Voice,” anchoring on the “Today” show, and hosting “Last Call with Darson Daly.”…..The mystery surrounding the April disappearance of Kathy Hart from WTMX, Chicago’s popular “Eric & Kathy” AM drive show may soon be revealed to some degree or another, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder.  He writes today that sources say action on her relationship with the station should come soon and it sounds as though she’s negotiating an end to her contract.  However, everyone seems mystified as to what caused her to choose to take a leave from the highly rated program 12 weeks ago, including radio partner Eric Ferguson.  Read Feder’s piece here…..Entercom’s WLNK, Charlotte “The Link 107.9” inks a new deal with Bob Lacey and Sheri Lynch (pictured at right) for the two to continue hosting their syndicated “Bob & Sheri” show on the station.  Entercom Charlotte VP/GM Matt Hanlon states, “This is the top-rated show in the market and one of the best, most unique morning shows in America.  We’re fortunate to have the caliber of talent and creative engagement the ‘Bob & Sheri’ show brings to the airwaves every day.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

| July 12, 2017

Salem to Hold White House Radio Broadcast. The theme of the July 25 special broadcast from the White House will be “Made in America” and will feature senior members of the Trump Administration as guests on some 20 Salem Media Group radio shows.  The press statement from Salem says that the special broadcast day is “part of a larger White House effort to broaden media access and bring in more local and regional media, including talk radio.”  Salem’s nationally syndicated talk radio hosts – Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Larry Elder and Eric Metaxas – will be joined by 13 local hosts from Salem Media Group-owned stations and will total 36 hours of live radio programming between the hours of 6:00 am to 9:00 pm ET on that day.  Salem Media Group CEO Ed Atsinger comments, “Donald Trump ran an unconventional campaign that reflected a broad public discontent with the status quo, and despite intense opposition and overwhelming odds, he was successful.  There is an unprecedented level of public interest in what is happening in Washington, DC…Salem Media Group’s audiences are highly active politically and very interested in both the policy components of the president’s agenda, as well as how the administration is accomplishing its objectives.”

Entercom Recruits Larkin for Regional VP Position. Radio management pro Susan Larkin is joining Entercom as a regional vice president.  She’s most recently been serving in the same capacity with Cox Media Group, in charge of the Orlando and Jacksonville markets.  During her career she also served with ABC-Disney in the Twin Cities.  Entercom COO Weezie Kramer states, “Susan is a highly respected and top-performing radio veteran with a winning track record.  At Entercom, we are committed to being a best-in-class organization with A-level talent and we are excited to have Susan on board with us at this transformational time.”

Cumulus Unveils Its ‘Digital C-Suite.’ The Cumulus Digital C-Suite is a “comprehensive portfolio of digital marketing solutions” that Cumulus sellers will represent to local businesses in its 90 U.S. markets. Cumulus says it’s a “flexible local marketing solution, currently featuring digital solutions in three distinct areas that can be used in any combination to achieve a local advertiser’s digital marketing goal.  Local businesses can now work with a single point of contact to create stand-alone radio or digital campaigns, or holistic multi-media strategies.”  Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Cumulus is offering local marketers the formidable reach, frequency, and recall of radio combined with comprehensive custom digital marketing solutions that we know engage consumers.  We spent the last year in market testing digital solutions with local advertisers and have pulled together the most effective products that delivered the best results.  With C-Suite, our advertisers can now work with one partner to coordinate and optimize their campaign, messaging, and creative across multiple platforms.”  VP of digital operations and business development Larry Linietsky adds, “We’re evolving our broadcast business to maximize digital and social in support of our local partners’ needs.  Our plan is to vigilantly watch the ever evolving digital technology landscape for new products, innovations and opportunities for inclusion in the Cumulus Digital C-Suite.”

Radio Drops Out of Top Five in BIA Kelsey’s Local Media Advertising Forecast.  In this mid-year update to the 2017 U.S. Local Ad Revenues Forecast from BIA Kelsey, radio drops from the #5 spot to #6 with forecast total revenue of $15.6 billion.  Mobile inches ahead of radio with 11% of the advertising pie, or $16 billion.  The five-year forecast report states that total U.S. ad revenue will reach “approximately $174 billion by 2021 (Compound Annual Growth Rate: 3.8%.) This growth will be driven by double-digit increases in mobile and social advertising and local online and mobile video, all slated to experience at least a 17% increase by 2021.  For 2017, the firm has slightly decreased their advertising estimate to $147.9 billion. An overall weaker than expected economy in the beginning of 2017 has led to softness in advertising revenues.  However, future growth in online/digital advertising revenues will be higher than originally predicted, with a 2016-2021 CAGR of 11.9%.  Over the same period, traditional advertising revenues will see a slight decrease in the 2016-2021 period with a CAGR of -0.6%.”  See more here.

Meg McDonald Rejoins TalkersRadio with Solo Short-Form Commentary.  Longtime public relations specialist Meg McDonald is enjoying a second career as a talk radio commentator.  The daughter of a Hollywood show biz couple (actress Elizabeth Fraser and dancer Ray McDonald), she earned tremendous notoriety for many years as one of Southern California’s leading publicists.  She ran her own LA-based company, McDonald Media Services, and was married to an accomplished broadcaster, the late-Brent Seltzer, for more than three decades.  When Seltzer died almost two years ago, the couple were in the process of co-hosting a new, rapidly-growing, syndicated husband/wife midday chat show “Brent and Meg” on the Genesis Communications Network (GCN) that had gotten its launch as an experimental project on TalkersRadio.  Now McDonald is back as a solo performer with a compelling, short-form radio feature simply titled, “MEG!”  It’s a 2½-minute feature that showcases her unique and quirky observations about the “things and events” of daily life.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes McDonald as “a female version of the late-Andy Rooney, only far less curmudgeonly.”  “MEG!” can be used as a stand-alone interstitial feature or as an accompanying “kicker” for an already-existing radio program.  TalkersRadio is an experimental radio lab designed to give talent, programmers and producers a platform and industry showcase to try out new ideas and projects for talk radio.  Since its inception in 2013, TalkersRadio has launched a number of programs that have gone on to terrestrial radio success – the most recent being “American Family Farmer” with Doug Stephan, now heard weekends on approximately 150 terrestrial stations across the nation.  At the time of his death, Alan Colmes was experimenting with a program titled “Healed Planet” that explored the boundaries of human consciousness.  These shows are archived at TalkersRadio which can be accessed by clicking here.   For more information about TalkersRadio call GM David Bernstein at 413-565-5413.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/12) with Joe Madison, Sharon Madison and Dave Gorab.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein); the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo); the special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard); the special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell); and the first and second in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” beginning with a conversation between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman (facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter) as well as the second in that series featuring Bold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto in conversation with DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, plus the third in the series featuring a conversation between nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein (facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter).  Today (7/12) TALKERS has posted a “one-on-one” chat titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).  Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

Trump Jr.- Russia Meeting, GOP Health Care Plan, North Korea Threats/China Responsibility, ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ Controversy, Shia LeBeouf Arrest, and MLB All-Star Game Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/11). The controversy over Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with a Russian attorney promising dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign; the Republicans’ plan to attempt a vote on their health care plan before the August break; North Korea’s nuclear program and China’s statement that the hermit kingdom is not solely its responsibility; the concern of prominent zoologists that the world may be in a “sixth mass extinction” with large numbers of species disappearing; the flap over the arrest of actor Shia LeBeouf on public drunkenness charges; and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SiriusXM Host Rick Ungar Guests on Harrison Podcast.  This week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is the animation-heavyweight-turned-progressive-pundit, Rick Ungar.  Ungar, a former top executive with Marvel Entertainment and New World Animation, is the liberal co-host, with former Republican National Committee head Michael Steele, of the political talk show “Steele and Ungar” heard nightly on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s politically moderate POTUS Channel. The show is known for its collegial and civil approach to political left/right debate – a rarity in today’s radio.  Harrison and Ungar (who also writes the column “The Token Lefty” for Forbes.com) discuss a wide array of media topics including the moderate approach to political discussion, the POTUS Channel, the state of talk radio, and a whole bunch of cool stuff about superheroes, comics and animation in American popular culture.  Not to be missed!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Century Broadcasting Co-Founder George Collias Dead at 89.  According to a lengthy obit in the Chicago Tribune, George Collias – co-founder of Century Broadcasting – died of complications from Alzheimer ’s disease at age 89.  The Chicagoland native left his law practice in the mid-1960s and formed Century Broadcasting with a partner.  They started acquiring radio stations, first in suburban St. Louis (what became the legendary rock station KSHE-FM), then Dallas and Detroit and, in 1966 WFMF-FM in Chicago (currently WSHE-FM).  The company continued to buy FM stations in major markets – moves that many in the radio business thought were crazy, since FM was largely the domain of easy listening or Muzak at that time.  Few saw the rise of FM rock and pop stations on the horizon.  But Collias was proved prescient as the value of those stations skyrocketed in the 1970s.  Century began selling stations in the 1980s and by 1997 – a year after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 – Collias had sold his last station.  He confessed to the Tribune in a 1997 article that he thought the business would be successful, but he did not know it would reap the rewards it did.  Read the Tribune obit here.

Tony & Kris Named WIVK, Knoxville Morning Show. Knoxville country outlet WIVK finds a replacement for the popular “Andy & Alison” morning show, signing Tony Randall and Kris Rochester to handle the wake-up show.  Cumulus Media says that after a nationwide search, the station is hiring only the fourth morning show in the history of the station.  “Andy & Alison” retired earlier this year after 20 years with the station to leave the radio business.  “Tony & Kris” were most recently syndicated via United Stations Radio Networks.  They began their career together in 1991 at WHMA, Anniston-Oxford, Alabama.  Cumulus Knoxville VP/market manager Ken Salyer states, “The excitement level of the staff at the hiring of ‘Tony & Kris’ speaks to their track record of success.”  In addition to hosting mornings, the duo will develop a new, music-based weekend show for WIVK.

Friday, June 30, 2017

| June 30, 2017

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s Mike Pintek Announces Cancer Diagnosis.  As reported by CBS Pittsburgh, KDKA-AM midday talk show host Mike Pintek on Thursday (6/29) informed his listeners that he’s been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer.  He said, “What I’m about to do is not easy.  In fact, it’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  In early May, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  The stats are not great, but that’s the hand I was dealt and it is not operable.  They thought it was going to be operable at first, but it is not operable…at this time.”  Pintek went on to say that the cancer has spread to his liver and possibly to other areas of his body.  He added that the doctors hope that chemotherapy will shrink the tumor enough to make it operable.  “My focus is on trying to go through the therapies, to take the medicines, to follow the advice of what I consider to be the best doctors in the world at UPMC Hillman.”  He’ll be missing some time on air as he undergoes treatment.  He told his audience, “You are my family – my extended family.”  Pintek is on his second tour with the station.  He hosted a talk show on KDKA-AM from 1982-2005, and returned to the station in 2009.

Wells Fargo’s Ryvicker Addresses Entercom-CBS RADIO Merger