Tag: "Scripps"

Thursday, February 28, 2019

| February 28, 2019

Mike Thompson Named PD for NRG Media’s Omaha AM Stations. Programming pro Mike Thompson is joining NRG Media to serve as AM stations operations manager/program director for the company’s Omaha properties.  He’ll oversee sports talkers KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2,” news/talk KOIL, and regional Mexican KMMQ-AM/K258DC “La Nueva 99.5.” NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “Mike will be a great addition to our already talented and award-winning staff.  He has an outstanding programming mind as well as a strong sales mentality.”  Thompson has served with ESPN in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to WCNN, Atlanta; KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas and WABC, New York. He says, “I am excited to join a great brand of sports and news talk with NRG Media in Omaha.  NRG Media’s slogan is Great Local Radio – for me that’s what I am all about.  Working with market manager Mark Shecterle and talented hosts and producers, it will be rewarding to always live up to that slogan.”  Thompson has most recently been involved in acting and voice work in L.A. He begins at NRG Media Omaha today.

Scott Vowinkle to Lead Sales Effort at NRG Omaha. Sales pro Scott Vowinkle returns to the Omaha market to take on the director of sales position for NRG Media’s seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KOIL, and sports talk duo KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2.”   Vowinkle was most recently with Cumulus Media as general sales manager in Beaumont, Texas.  He previously worked in the Omaha market with Scripps.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Sports talk bounced back from the Holiday 2018 survey with 68% of stations going up (weekly 6+ AQH share), led by Boston sports talkers WEEI-FM (+1.7) and WBZ-FM (+1.6).  About half the sports talk stations on the panel were up year-over-year and the two biggest gainers benefitted from the Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff success.  Entercom’s KCSP was up 1.1 share and Union Broadcasting’s WHB was up an even 1.0 share.  It’s rare that a sports talk station ranks first in its market, but Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia accomplished that by riding the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff run to a #1 ranking with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Nielsen Q4 2018 Revenue Down 5.8%; Audio Ratings Segment Dips 2.3%. Financial data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the full year are being released by Nielsen Holdings plc – the media ratings and consumer behavior research company. Looking at the fourth quarter, revenue for the entire company was $1.66 billion, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2017.  The company posted a net loss of $952 million in Q4, compared to 2017’s Q4 gain of $84 million.  The audio ratings division operates within the company’s Watch segment.  It earned $128 million during Q4, down 2.3% from 2017’s $131 million. For all of 2018, revenue from the audio ratings segment was off just 0.8% on earnings of $497 million, compared to $501 million for the full-year 2017.  Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019.  I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company’s history.  Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions.  We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients.”  Kenny also addresses the strategic review being undertaken that could see the company sold.  “The strategic review is ongoing and the board is working with urgency on this process. As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen’s Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company.  The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders.”

Talk Radio Fact-Finding Tour of Ireland Planned.  A group of diverse talk radio broadcasters is getting ready to take a comprehensive tour of Ireland in early April.  The tour will include a six-day, guided visit to some of the Emerald Isle’s most iconic attractions and interview opportunities with some of Ireland’s most important leaders from the fields of politics, international relations, business, the arts, food, technology, and history.  Organized by the DC Radio Company in conjunction with the Irish government’s tourism bureau, the project marks a return to the type of international fact-finding missions that were a talk radio staple in the 1990s and early 2000s.  DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones tells TALKERS, “I am so excited to get the ball rolling again on these trips that provide hosts and their listeners with the opportunity to take a real deep-dive into the culture of other countries around the world.  And now in the age of the Internet, tours like this give stations and networks the opportunity to tease the interviews with short clips on the air and full, long-form programs and specials on their websites.  Plus, they are attractive content packages for local and national sponsorships.”  Jones is a well-known talk radio figure who, in addition to having major market credentials at several top stations in Washington, Boston, Detroit, and Nashville, as well as in national syndication, served more than a dozen years as a senior White House correspondent for the Talk Radio News Service before launching the DC Radio Company last year.  Her live commentaries are familiar to listeners in hundreds of markets.  She has been involved with a number of the successful talk radio fact-finding missions that brought hosts to such diverse countries as Taiwan, Israel, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and more.  Talk broadcasters signed up for the Irish tour include, Doug Stephan of the syndicated “DJV Morning Show,” Danielle Lin of the syndicated “The Art of Living and Science of Life,” Kate Delaney of the syndicated  “America Tonight” program, Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, and Scott Thompson, owner of Big Radio, a group of eight radio stations located in Monroe, Wisconsin; Freeport, Illinois; Janesville, Wisconsin; Beloit, Wisconsin; and, South Beloit, Illinois.  Ireland’s 2019 tourism theme is “Fill Your Heart with Ireland.”  According to Jones, more international trips of this nature are being planned as several nations have expressed strong interest in creating communication ties with American talk radio.

Comrex to Debut New Rackmount Audio Codec at NAB Show. This updated version of the popular rackmount Comrex ACCESS – the ACCESS NX Rack – will be unveiled at the NAB Show in Las Vegas taking place from April 6-11.  Comrex says the industry standard Comrex ACCESS Rackmount (first released in 2005) is being updated to incorporate the technical advances from the last decade.  The ACCESS NX Rack features completely new hardware, allowing for AES67, AES3, or analog audio I/O.  ACCESS NX Rack can connect to Wi-Fi and 4G modems and supports a wide range of connection protocols and audio encoders.  It’s driven via a new HTML5-based web user interface.  Further, it is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs as well as the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks.  By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event that the primary network falters.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes HotSwap, a new function included with the latest version of ACCESS firmware. HotSwap allows users to designate one network as a backup that will only engage when the primary network has failed. Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.

Broadcasting from CPAC.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (left) posing for a pic with the newest member of the SRN syndicated talk show host family, Dr. Sebastian Gorka (right).  The two are producing their programs live from the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference taking place in National Harbor, Maryland through Saturday.

TALKERS News Notes. WCCO, Minneapolis is getting its new imaging package from noted radio voice-over and imaging legend Sandy Thomas’ new company, CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design (a division of Thomas Voice Imaging). The Entercom heritage news/talker is re-branding with the assistance of the new imaging package with reportedly positive initial results.  The highly charged package features Thomas and his wife Rebecca.  Check out a demo of the WCCO package here.  Interested stations can reach Sandy Thomas at 800-516-3370 or email CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com…..The news of President Trump’s breaking off talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un came on short notice and SRN News vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS that their affiliate stations were able to hear it live, thanks to their coverage.  Tradup says that via its longform news channel SNN Right, they were able to go live with the breaking news and deliver audio from the live news conference from Hanoi that had been moved up that included President Trump’s wide-ranging remarks on the summit, political battles facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his reaction to Michael Cohen’s testimony, new negotiations with China on trade, and other breaking news…..WBUR, Boston produced “On Point” is presenting its first special four-part series from co-host Meghna Chakrabarti that explores the nation’s complicated housing landscape, titled, “Where We Call Home.”  It debuts March 4.  Chakrabarti will investigate the changing landscape of neighborhoods across America and the economic, social, aesthetic, and political forces that factor in to where and how Americans choose to live.

Michael Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, India-Pakistan Tensions, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, Venezuela Unrest, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). Wednesday’s congressional testimony by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; President Trump’s Hanoi meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall project and challenges to President Trump’s emergency declaration; the situation in Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro clings to power; and NBA and NCAA basketball 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. This season of ABC TV’s “American Idol” debuts on March 3 and iHeartMedia is joining ABC in promoting the show with a radio special hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia AC and hot AC radio stations nationwide.  The thirty-minute special will air Sunday, March 3 and feature songs from current “American Idol” judges and past contestants, exclusive content and information about the iconic series…..Cumulus Media announces that Justin Taylor is the new operations manager for its Oxnard-Ventura, California cluster and program director for country KHAY.  He’s taking over for the retiring Chris Cox, who will step down on March 4 after a 45-year career in radio. Taylor says, “I could not be happier to be joining [RVP] Sommer Frisk and her amazing team as the operations manager for Ventura /Oxnard, and even more excited to take over the ACM nominated K-HAY!”

Monday, August 6, 2018

| August 6, 2018

Bonneville To Close on Eight Entercom Stations. All of those particular properties being disposed are in California and have been held in an FCC disposition trust. Bonneville has been operating them under Local Marketing Agreements since the closing of Entercom’s merger with CBS Radio. Acquired by Bonneville from Entercom for a total of $141 million in cash are: CHR KMVQ “99.7 New Hit Music Now”; urban AC KBLX “102.9 The Soul of the Bay”; and adult contemporary KOIT-FM “96.5 Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites” (all in San Francisco); San Jose classic rocker KUFX “98.5 K-Fox – The South Bay’s Classic Rock”; as well as KHTK “Sports 1140”; KNCI “New Country 105.1”; adult contemporary KYMX “Mix 96 – Today’s Hits, Yesterday’s Favorites”; and hot AC KZZO “Now 100.5 – Today’s Best Hits” (all in Sacramento). The transaction is expected to close either late in the third-quarter of this year, or early in the fourth-quarter. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2018 San Francisco sweep, KMVQ and KOIT-FM are tied in fourth-place (3.8), while KBLX is #12 (3.0). In San Jose, KUFX ranks fourth (5.2, 6+). Meanwhile, in Sacramento, KYMX places third (5.9); KNCI is sixth (4.3); KZZO ranks eighth (4.1); and KHTK finishes at #25 (.9, 6+).

One Person Injured at WORT Shooting. Police in Madison, Wisconsin are saying that a shooting shortly after 3:00 am yesterday (8/5) inside Back Porch Radio Broadcasting’s WORT “89.9 Community Radio” does not appear to be a random attack. There’s no known motive and no suspect is in custody. Nonetheless, a man wearing a mask and hood entered the station during the transition between the 12:00 midnight and 3:00 am programs and opened fire on three station workers. Witnesses say five shots were fired, injuring one 33-year-old man in the buttocks and shattering the glass between studios. The injured station staffer was sent to the hospital but quickly released. Police said there were no signs of forced entry into the building. WORT board president David Devereaux-Weber told the Wisconsin State Journal that the shooter, “fired a number of shots.” He said volunteers ducked for cover; ran into the master control room before hiding in the music library; and called 911. Devereaux-Weber said that a code is needed to enter the building. It is unclear whether the shooter knew the code or held the door open after someone entered the station. Multiple volunteers arrived to help get the station back on the air at 9:38 am. WORT reportedly plans to tighten security.

Apple Podcasts, Facebook Latest to Remove Jones Podcasts. As we reported last Friday (TALKERS.com, 8/3),  Alex Jones has had a number of his podcast episodes pulled from Spotify’s service after the digital audio platform concluded the episodes violated its hate content policy. Now, Apple Podcasts and Facebook are taking action against him. Five of Jones’ shows were removed from Apple Podcasts with a spokesperson telling Buzzfeed, “Apple does not tolerate hate speech. We have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users. Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.” At the same time, Facebook removed “The Alex Jones Page,” The Alex Jones Channel Page,” “The Infowars Page,” and “The Infowars Nightly News Page.” Facebook notes, “Upon review, we have taken [the content] down for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies. While much of the discussion around Infowars has been related to false news, which is a serious issue that we are working to address by demoting links marked wrong by fact checkers and suggesting additional content, none of the violations that spurred [these] removals were related to this.” Reacting to the earlier Spotify situation, Jones – who is syndicated to radio stations by Genesis Communications Network – said the action is “what I expect. I was born in censorship.  I was born being suppressed.”

Entravision Q2 Radio Revenue Flat. Second-quarter radio revenue for Entravision Communications was unchanged at $17.24 million, while television was off 3% to $36.531 million; digital increased 32% to $20.558 million. Chairman and chief executive officer Walter Ulloa notes that, “Growth in our digital media segment offsets a decrease in our television segment, while our radio segment was flat. We improved our free cash flow and net income over last year’s second quarter. We continued to build our digital footprint through our acquisition of a digital advertising technology company, while implementing steps to more efficiently align operations and reduce costs. Looking ahead, we remain well-positioned to build on our success in further attracting Latino and other audiences worldwide, and expanding our advertiser base to the benefit of our shareholders.” Entravision’s board declared a nickel per share quarterly cash dividend for Class A, Class B and Class U common stockholders. The dividend is payable next month (9/28) to shareholders of record as of September 14.

Kwei-Cook Promoted to Radio One Charlotte LSM. Integrated marketing specialist Debbie Kwei-Cook is elevated to local sales manager of Radio One Charlotte. According to vice president and general manager Doug James, “Debbie has a long history of success in Charlotte and with Radio One. She has been a top performer in our company, most recently winning the President’s Club Award the past two years as the top salesperson and she has extensive management experience.  I’m thrilled to be able to have Debbie bring her knowledge, passion, and leadership to our management team.” Kwei-Cook comments, “I look forward to helping the local sales department develop strategic marketing campaigns to drive sales for local businesses.” Kwei-Cook previously spent 11 years as vice president and general manager of Radio One Charlotte and more than ten years as general sales manager of CBS Radio Charlotte. Since October 2012, she has been chief operating officer/president of My Talent Bank Group. 

Crossover Media Group Sales Adds Sports Programs. The company will be responsible for advertising sales and assist with production for “DeSean Jackson One-on-One,” a weekly podcast featuring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver. In addition, CMGS will syndicate/handle ad sales for “VSiN Action Update,” a series of sports betting vignettes – fed twice each weekday – from the first network dedicated to sports gambling information, Brent Musburger-founded VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network). In association with Sports USA and its founder Larry Kahn, CMGS will launch “The Buck Stops Here,” a twice-weekly football podcast hosted by former Indianapolis Colts tight end Charles Arbuckle. A weekly podcast hosted by Joe Morgan – “Classic Conversations with Joe Morgan” – will feature the MLB Hall of Fame second baseman speaking with some of the biggest names in sports history. Crossover Media Group Sales managing member Ron Hartenbaum comments, “The recent Supreme Court decision on sports wagering has opened up enormous opportunities to generate local ad revenue, not just on sports radio stations but within the rock and country formats – namely, anywhere men are listening. We are thrilled to be able to add the new VSiN content, as well as the new offerings from DeSean, Larry, Joe, and Charles to our expanding lineup of show offerings to marketing partners.”

CONSULTANT OPINION:  Rush Limbaugh Affiliates Should PANDER to Trump Fans.  In an opinion piece posted today (8/6), media consultant Holland Cooke writes that Rush Limbaugh affiliates should capitalize on the solid numbers available to them by taking advantage of Limbaugh’s recent ratings increases and telling ardent supporters of President Trump exactly what they want to hear.  Cooke writes, “’Pander.’” That is your one-word, sure-shot ratings success strategy… Check logic at the door.  Unlike those pesky fact-checkers, Trump supporters take him seriously-but-not-literally.  Our job is to exploit THE – repeat, THE – best thing that ever happened to talk radio, the Trump presidency.”  To read the entire piece, please click here.

CONSULTANT OPINION:  A Real Producer Can Protect a Talk Show Host from Saying Something Stupid.  Former WWRL 1600 AM, New York executive producer, Jeffrey Haveson – now an independent news/talk programming consultant – writes a provocative opinion piece posted in TALKERS today (8/6) stating that incidents such as the recent “Turban Man” controversy at New Jersey 101.5, Trenton could be avoided if radio stations employed what he calls “real” producers.  Haveson writes, “Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco are back at Trenton-based New Jersey 101.5 after a 10-day suspension, but what have we learned from this as an industry?  For those who don’t know or have forgotten, the suspension was meted out to Dennis and Judi after they repeatedly called New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewalon, who is a Sikh, ‘the guy with the turban’ and ‘Turban Man,’ and Dennis defended the name calling by saying ‘if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban (man) and I’ll remember your name.’ This is a perfect example of why talk radio stations, be they public or commercial, news talk, conservative talk, progressive talk, sports talk, financial talk, or other, need real producers.  By real producers, I do not mean the glorified gofers and ‘yes people’ that many stations call producers nor an overworked board op who is also charged with screening calls and chasing down guests.  On the other hand, by real producers, I also don’t mean someone who acts as the host’s supervisor.  The program director should be the supervisor over both the host and the producer. A real producer is a trusted partner to both the program director and host, who shares their vision for this particular program and the station in general, and supports the host in creating content that fits that vision.  It is all about the vision.  If the host and/or the producer don’t have the same vision for the program as the program director, one or both of them need to be replaced.”  To read the entire opinion piece, please click here.

WPRO-AM Inks Five-Year Deal for P.C. Basketball. Beginning with the upcoming season, Cumulus Media Providence news/talk WPRO-AM will become the official radio home of Providence College men’s basketball. It is part of a five-year agreement with Providence College Athletics and its multimedia rights holder, Learfield. Cumulus Media Providence market manager Holly Paras declares, “Providence College is the premier men’s college basketball program in Southern New England. We are enthused about the partnership and look forward to many great seasons of Friar basketball.” Providence College athletics director Bob Driscoll comments, “Cumulus Media has the top radio brands in our market and this will provide unlimited marketing and exposure opportunities for us. This is a tremendous partnership for our basketball program and our fans.” The school’s men’s basketball coach Ed Cooley adds, “WPRO [AM] is a big part of the culture of radio in Rhode Island and Southeastern New England. I believe this will provide our fans the opportunity to get more coverage and access of Friar basketball. We are looking forward to hitting the airwaves on WPRO [AM], the new home of Providence College men’s basketball.” John Rooke and Joe Hassett, the voices of Friar basketball for more than 30 years, will call all Friar games this season. “The Ed Cooley Radio Show” will air on select weeknights throughout the season.

TALKERS News Notes. Former NFL lineman Orlando Franklin joins Bonneville Denver sports talk KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” According to KKFN program director Armen Williams, “We are really excited to have Orlando as part of our championship team – he has a sincere passion to be on ‘The Fan.’ It’s great to have Orlando on our game day on-air presentation.” Originally drafted in the second round by the Denver Broncos in 2011, Franklin retired in May and he notes, “I’ve known this is what I’ve wanted to do after football for years. I love the interaction the sports radio platform provides. It is an honor to now be on the same team as a lot of these guys that I’ve listened to my whole career.” In addition to the Broncos, Franklin has played for the San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, and Washington Redskins ….. Meanwhile, six-year KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” veteran Ted Johnson departs the afternoon program (“Triple Threat”) at the Entercom Houston outlet. A rotating group of analysts will join remaining co-hosts Sean Pendergast and Rich Lord. Former New England Patriots linebacker Johnson is reportedly moving back to Boston to be closer to his children ….. Tulsa’s NBC-TV affiliate, KJRH-TV “2 Works For You,” will be providing news and weather content for that market’s iHeartMedia cluster. “Our staff is very excited to work with the team at Channel 2,” comments iHeartMedia area president Jon Phillips. [Meteorologist] Mike Collier is a favorite in our building; he and his team will sound great delivering weather to the iHeart audiences. Keeping our listeners safe is our first priority and the team at Channel 2 will ensure just that.” The iHeartMedia Tulsa group consists of sports talk KTBZ “1430 The Buzz”; sports talk KAKC “1300 The Buzz”; rock KMOD; country KTGX “106.1 The Twister”; CHR KTBT “92.1 The Beat”; regional Mexican KIZS “101.5 El Patron”; and classic rock KTGX-HD2 “93.5 The Jet.” KJRH-TV had been working with the Scripps cluster; however, when Scripps sold its Tulsa stations to Griffin Communications, it joined forces with Griffin’s CBS affiliate in the Oklahoma metro, KOTV-TV ….. This past Friday (8/3), Townsquare Media’s KFYO “News/Talk 95.1 & 790,” Lubbock (Texas) originated Chad Hasty’s 8:30 am – 11:00 am show from Austin’s Resurgent Gathering. Among those Hasty interviewed there were Texas senator Ted Cruz and Texas GOP chair James Dickey ….. Speaking of Townsquare Media Lubbock, Dave Dunaway is named regional operations/programming manager for its stations there, as well as in Odessa-Midland. There are ten Townsquare Media facilities in those two Texas metros. Dunaway most recently programmed and did afternoon drive at Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) country outlet WYZB “Nash FM.” He has also worked for WZZK, Birmingham, as well as WTGE “100.7 The Tiger,” Baton Rouge.

WRKO, Boston Morning Co-Host Kim Carrigan Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most familiar figures in local Boston talk media, Kim Carrigan, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” For the past several years, Carrigan – a political moderate with a background in journalism – has co-hosted WRKO, Boston’s 6:00 am to 10:00 am morning show, sharing the mic with conservative personality Doug “VB” Goudie and the program’s on-air producer Jim Clerkin, who is liberal as well as openly gay. The result is a dynamic, eclectic mix of topics and opinions on a station otherwise positioned in a more purely conservative orientation. Prior to joining WRKO as a talk show host, Carrigan spent a number of years as a Boston television personality on several local stations, most recently co-hosting the popular morning news/chat show on WFXT-TV (Fox 25). She and Harrison discuss the differences between radio and TV morning news/talk, the evolving role of women in radio, the challenges of balancing local and national issues in the Trump era, and the strategy of expanding the target base on a predominantly conservative station. Harrison, who occasionally serves as a fill-in host on WRKO, including its morning show, says, “Kim Carrigan is one of the best local talk show hosts in radio today. She brings journalistic sensibility and fairness to the table without sacrificing the power of opinion that fuels the news/talk format. She projects youthful dynamism tempered by seasoned journalism and general life experience – a great combination. She has the glamor of celebrity balanced with a down-to-earth neighborly persona. The WRKO morning show is an interesting exercise in navigating the turbulent waters of today’s news/talk radio conversation. It’s wonderful having Kim as a guest on the podcast.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Flair for Fort Myers. The “Nature Boy” himself – Ric Flair – is among the grapplers scheduled to appear when Beasley Media Group presents the inaugural “Legends of Wrestling” event next month (9/15) in Fort Myers at Suncoast Credit Union Arena. The “ultimate fan experience” will kick off with a behind-the-scenes VIP meet and greet and question & answer session (3:30 pm – 5:30 pm). In addition, there will be an opportunity to take photos with the wrestlers (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm) before the matches begin at 7:00 pm. As well as Flair, other “sports entertainment” stars slated to be on the card include Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat; Jim “Hacksaw” Duggan; Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart; and The Nasty BoysBrian Knobs & Jerry Sags. Ticket prices range from $20.02 for general admission to $210.82 for VIP and ringside seating. Beasley Media Group’s six-station Fort Myers cluster consists of sports talk WWCN “99.3 ESPN Southwest Florida”; news/talk WJBX; adult contemporary WJPT “Sunny 106.3”; CHR WXKB “B-103.9”; WRXK “96 K-Rock”; and Spanish tropical WRXK-HD2 “98.1 Playa.”      

Trump-Russia Investigation, Manafort Trial, Trump Rally/Mid-Term Elections, New China Tariffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories this Past Weekend  (8/4-5).  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents; the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul ManafortPresident Trump’s Tampa rally for Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and the larger, mid-term election picture; Trump’s threat to add tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting today (8/6), DSC rejoins iHeartMedia San Diego classic rock KGB-FM for 6:00 am – 10:00 am duty. DSC consists of Dave Rickards, Cookie “Chainsaw” Randolph, Chris Boyer, Nina “Ruth 66” Reeba, Emily Maguire, and Sarah Beebe. Coinciding with DSC returning to KGB for morning drive, Bob & Coe move from mornings to afternoon drive; Clint August segues from afternoon drive to middays; and Marc Coppola will host nights. Market president Melissa Forrest comments, “Bringing DSC home to KGB and reinforcing the station with heritage talent like Clint, and Bob & Coe is a reflection of the power behind KGB’s legendary call letters. We are immensely proud to bring this lineup to San Diego’s loyal rock listeners.” Rickards remarks, “After 28 years as the top-rated morning show in San Diego, DSC has come full-circle with its return to the legendary KGB-FM. I’ve always felt that KGB was our home, and nothing beats a happy homecoming.” Meanwhile, “Chainsaw” adds, “It feels amazing to bring DSC back to where it all began. We are thrilled to continue making you smile and laugh coffee out of your nose every morning.” ….. Following April’s departure by morning hosts Mason & Remy, iHeartMedia’s WEBG “Big 95.5 – Chicago’s New Country” transitions the syndicated Bobby Bones show from a delayed nighttime airing to morning drive (5:00 am – 9:00 am). WEBG program director Lance Houston comments, “The Bobby Bones Show really connects with the core country audience more than any other show I’ve ever seen throughout my career. I am truly confident that Bobby Bones and his team will be an entertaining morning show for our one million-plus weekly country radio audience in Chicagoland.” Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Chicago Region president Matt Scarano notes, “We are excited to add the most recognizable name in country radio to our morning lineup.” ….. When hearing that a local wheelchair-bound woman was refused service at a local (St. Peters, Missouri) nail salon, Hubbard St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” morning co-host Cassiday was “heartbroken.” A representative of another local establishment – Cut and Dye Salon – contacted (“Spencer’s Neighborborhood” member) Cassiday and offered to treat the mother (Dorothy) and daughter (Beth) to a full-day of pampering, noting that everyone should be welcome. Cassiday recounts, “It was shocking to learn that she and her mom went in for a pedicure, only to be told by the salon owner they don’t serve people ‘like her.’ I knew we needed to do something. I was confident, with the power of local radio, ‘The Arch’ could take a hurtful moment and make it positive for them. We had them come in to meet us and surprised them with a spa pedicure live on air. To be able to bring a smile to the face of this young woman was priceless. In days like this, I am reminded of the power of radio and that there are good hearts across the St. Louis bi-state.” ….. “Phoebe’s Flight 5K,” an Entercom Sacramento-hosted event, will take place this Sunday (8/12) at Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin (California). Emceed by (CHR) KUDL “106.5 The End” morning hosts Gavin Ferguson, Katie, and Rayne, the “rain or shine” happening will feature a fun run for children and a 5K run for adults; post-race activities will follow. Phoebe’s Fund was founded by Ferguson and his wife Stacy in honor of their daughter Phoebe, who was stillborn. Race proceeds will benefit Phoebe’s Fund, a 501(c)(3) charity which helps alleviate the financial burden of parents who have lost a child to miscarriage or stillbirth by providing grants for grief therapy …. WABD “The Gulf Coast’s Hit Music Station,” Mobile mid-day talent Jimmy Steele adds program director duties at the Cumulus Media mainstream CHR. Steele will continue as the cluster’s operations manager and PD of the company’s Mobile news/talker WXQW. Cumulus Media Mobile vice president/market manager Don Boyd comments, “We are fortunate to have deep talent here with one of the country’s top CHR programmers, Jimmy Steele, already in the building. Under Jimmy’s direct leadership, he [will continue] to evolve this legendary radio station.” Steele remarks, “I am excited to roll up my sleeves and splash back into my CHR roots. It is an honor to be able to come to work each day and serve our talented Cumulus Mobile team. They are very supportive and for that, I am grateful.” Steele previously programmed several iHeartMedia stations and was operations director/brand manager for Saga Communications in Columbus. He succeeds Sid Kelly, who transfers to Cumulus Media Indianapolis as program director of CHR WYRG “Energy 93.9.” ….. WRUF, Gainesville names Justin “Tyler” Clapp brand manager/afternoon personality at the University of Florida-owned country outlet. Most recently, Clapp was operations manager for Townsquare Media Fort Collins (Colorado) and brand manager of country KUAD. He formerly programmed WWGR, Fort Myers (Florida) from 2007-2009, and was Great Eastern’s director of programming ….. Vice president of operations Don London is celebrating his 25th year at Entercom Norfolk.

Two Cool Cats.  A couple of rock ‘n’ roll’s coolest cats got together in the Los Angeles studios of SiriusXM Satellite Radio this past week.  The legendary Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon (pictured right), whose numerous hits from the 1960s include “Palisades Park,” “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans,” “Tallahassee Lassie” and more, visited with Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom (left) to record an interview for Jim’s Sunday night show, “Rockabilly Rave Up” heard on the “Underground Garage” channel.  The interview will be aired on 8/19 at 8:00 pm ET.

Friday, July 27, 2018

| July 27, 2018

Surprise Buyer for Scripps’ Milwaukee Duo Is Good Karma.  Numerous industry watchers expected E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI-FM to go to a larger operator – such as Entercom.  Today’s announcement that the stations are being sold to Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands for $16 million is sure to surprise many.  Good Karma already owns Milwaukee market ESPN affiliate WAUK-AM, as well as Madison sports outlet WTLX-FM.  Scripps president and CEO Adam Symson states, “Good Karma Brands’ focus on Milwaukee makes the company an ideal home for these important local radio stations. The company’s expertise in connecting audiences and advertisers, particularly with sports marketing, means these stations will be well positioned for the future.”  Scripps has put all of its radio assets on the market and Symson adds, “At Scripps, we are on track for the sale of our entire radio station group as a component of our enterprise-wide strategy to divest of non-core assets and focus on improving our near-term operating performance while fostering the growth ahead.”  The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.  Good Karma owns six sports talk stations (including WAUK). WTMJ has the rights to Green Bay Packers football, Milwaukee Bucks basketball, and Milwaukee Brewers baseball – right up Good Karma’s alley – but it also operates a personnel-heavy news and programming department and one has to wonder if staffers there are concerned about the owner-to-be’s commitment to a big news department.  At the same time, there are those who will applaud the sale of these stations to a smaller operator and not one of the big conglomerates. Kalil & Co., Inc. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

New Jersey 101.5’s Dennis & Judi Suspended for 10 Days. You have to give credit to Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” management for getting out front on this and 1) quickly decrying the words of hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco, 2) immediately suspending the duo while conducting an internal investigation, and 3) swiftly deciding the punishment and making it public.  This, of course, stems from their show segment during which they referred to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal – a practicing Sikh – as “turban man” and disparaged his name.  The station pulled Malloy and Franco from Wednesday’s program and promised quick action.  It then announced they will be suspended for 10 days.  It also released the following joint apology from Malloy and Franco: “It was a mistake we both deeply regret.  We respect all cultures and beliefs and are deeply sorry for the pain caused to the Sikh community, our co-workers and our beloved listeners.”

Salem Radio Network Host Mike Gallagher is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  In addition to being a top-10 member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred and a major radio talent, syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is a devoted theater fan and part-time stage actor.  The Salem Radio Network star has compiled quite an impressive list of credits over the years performing leading and supportive roles in musicals at professional regional theaters across the country including a brief guest stint on Broadway in the production of “Memphis.”  He’s even dabbled successfully in the risky business side of theater and has a Tony Award to prove it for his investment in the Broadway and road show revivals of “Pippin.”  Gallagher is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview” in which he and the founder of TALKERS take a deep dive into the world of theater.  They explore what being a stage actor has meant to the talk star in addition to the state of the theater in general touching upon its role in today’s politically polarized and contentious environment.  Don’t miss this fascinating look into the multi-layered personality of one of talk radio’s most successful players.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Podcast” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

TALKERS News Notes. Portland-based Alpha Media sells three of its Missouri stations for $250,000 cash.  To be transferred to Clayton and Brittany Radford-owned Radford Media Group are: agriculture-formatted KDKD-AM “Ag 1280,” country KDKD-FM, and classic rock KXEA “104.9 The Eagle.” These are the first radio properties for Radford.  The broker for the seller is Kalil & Co. and representing the buyer is Patrick Communications…..Louisville Public Media names Stephen George president and general manager for its public radio outlets WFPL, WUOL, and WFPK.  He’s been serving as interim president since January and takes over for previous president Michael Skoler.

Cohen Recordings and Trump-Russia Investigation Tied for Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The recordings of conversations between former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and Donald Trump discussing a payment to Playboymodel and the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of July 23-27, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the threat by GOP congressmen to begin the impeachment process against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  Coming in at #3 was the meeting between President Trump and the E.U.’s Jean-Claude Juncker over trade issues, followed by the status of the second meeting between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin 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. See the entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a new voice joining iHeartMedia’s and Premiere Networks’ Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” on September 17.  Medha Gandhi becomes co-host, moving to New York from her most recent position as executive producer and co-host of the “Matty in the Morning” program on the company’s WXKS-FM, Boston “KISS 108.”  Cast member Bethany Watson left the program in February to pursue an acting career.  Duran says, “We fell in love with Gandhi within the first five minutes of meeting her.  When you have a show as long established as ours, it’s very important to continue to keep it fresh and in Gandhi we have found the perfect co-host to do that.  I can’t wait for her to join our dysfunctional family!”  The program emanates from WHTZ, New York “Z100” and airs on some 80 affiliate stations…..Entercom’s Portland country outlet KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” brings Toni-Marie aboard as midday personality and assistant program director.  Most recently, she was music director and air personality at Buck Owens Broadcasting’s KUZZ and KRJK in Bakersfield.  Entercom Portland SVP and market manager Bill Ashenden says, “Toni-Marie brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to these roles and I’m looking forward to seeing her connect with our audience in the Northwest.”…..Beasley Media Group names Scotty B evening personality on rock WDHA, Dover, New Jersey.  Scotty B was most recently a part-time air personality and production staffer at the company’s rock WRAT, Point Pleasant, New Jersey.  WDHA program director Terrie Carr comments, “Rockturnal with Scotty B,” which airs weeknights from 7:00 to 12:00 midnight, will focus on his strengths – interacting with rock fans, getting out in the community, and being host of the party!  I am thrilled to have Scotty’s energy, attitude, and huge presence on our airwaves and as part of our family.”…..Jeffrey Jameson exits Entercom’s hot AC WNEW-FM, New York “NEW 102.7,” he announces in a brief tweet. Co-host Karen Carson will handle the morning show solo for now…..Iliad Media Group appoints James Garner regional operations manager for its Boise and Twin Falls station groups.  The company says that in this new position, the 11-year staffer will oversee the programming, production, and promotions at the 13 stations in Boise and Twin Falls…..Kenny Chesney’s exclusive SiriusXM channel, “No Shoes Radio,” is a live Town Hall with Chesney at Soldier Field in Chicago this weekend.  The show is being hosted by Storme Warren.  Chesney will give fans the opportunity to hear songs from his new album with track-by-track commentary, audience members will learn about the album’s inspiration, the recovery efforts from Hurricane’s Irma and Maria, and his Love for Love City Fund.

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.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

| June 21, 2018

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  More than half of the sports talk stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ weekly AQH shares rise compared to the April survey (54%).  Better still, 65% of sports stations realized positive 6+ movement compared to the same ratings period a year ago.  There are no sports talk stations ranking #1 in their market (6+), however Entercom’s WFAN, New York ranked #3 in the Long Island market and the company’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh also ranked #3.  See the entire report here.

Bloomberg: iHM Still Open to Takeover Talks After Shooting Down Liberty.  According to a report today by Bloomberg, Liberty Media officially retracted its $1.8 billion takeover offer to iHeartMedia (on 6/15) after some creditors apparently balked at the offer for a 40% equity stake in the company, saying it wasn’t enough.  However, iHeartMedia is still open to takeover talks – including with Liberty Media – as it tries to work its way through Chapter 11 reorganization.  Experts quoted in the piece say they expect Liberty to come back with another offer because Liberty hasn’t been acquiring iHM debt in order to get a fraction of that back in bankruptcy reorganization.  It wants leverage at the bargaining table.

Beasley Adds FM Translator to News/Talk KDWN, Las Vegas.  Las Vegas news/talker KDWN-AM officially begins life on the FM band today (6/21) as Beasley Media Group adds translator K268CS at 101.5 FM to the station’s transmission.  At the same time, the station re-brands as “The New 101.5FM/720AM The Talk of Las Vegas.”  The translator is located “high atop the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.  The decision to create a simulcast broadcast stems from the company’s market research and a desire to offer Las Vegas residents an alternate way to hear KDWN’s locally originated programming, along with a venerable line-up of personalities that will include Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.”  Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon adds, “We’re truly excited about this new opportunity to expand KDWN’s presence in the Las Vegas market.  Not only does this provide our listeners with an additional choice to enjoy KDWN’s programming, but an FM simulcast immediately adds value to our advertising customers.”

TRN Seeks Permission to Appeal Case Against Westwood One.  Radio company Talk Radio Network is asking Southern District of New York bankruptcy court Judge Shelley Chapman to give it relief from the automatic stay so it can appeal the Oregon federal court dismissal of its case against Westwood One and others.  TRN says it filed a timely appeal of the previous dismissal but Cumulus Media’s entry in to Chapter 11 last fall put an automatic stay in place that prevented the Eleventh Circuit Appellate Court from taking up the case.  Now that Cumulus has exited Chapter 11, TRN wants to continue the appeal process.  It’s also asking for an extension in which to file its Opening Brief in the Westwood One case.  Fellow defendants in the case are: Compass Media Networks, WYD Media Management, WYM Media Management, Lew Dickey Jr., and Charles SteinhauerMark Masters-led TRN has claimed in a number of previous suits that Westwood One and the other defendants all conspired to monopolize the radio syndication ad sales market and that Westwood One also committed breach of fiduciary duty, among other allegations.

TALKERS News Notes. Award-winning hospitality figure, New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, and television personality Jon Taffer is partnering with PodcastOne to present his new podcast, “Jon Taffer: No Excuses.”  The new program debuted this week with fan-voted guest Big Cat from Barstool Sports.  The weekly show “features the Bar Rescue star’s trademark straight talk and unapologetic approach to daily topics, current events and celebrity interviews. In addition to his genuine opinions and in-your-face analysis on these topics, Jon will offer tough-love advice to fans in the interactive program.”…..Conservative media figure Armstrong Williams – who had a long career hosting a radio talk show on AM stations – is putting his SiriusXM program to bed. Williams tells the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal that he will focus all of his attention on his television station company, Howard Stirk Holdings.  He’s not exiting the performance side of the business entirely as he’ll continue to host his eponymous TV show and will keep producing his podcast…..Scripps executive Tom Langmyer is being honored by the Buffalo Broadcasters Association with entrance into its Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2018.  Langmyer, who currently serves as VP of News, Talk and Sports and GM for news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI in Milwaukee, is a Buffalo native and former WGR-AM traffic reporter.  He’s being honored with the Buffalo Bob Smith Award bestowed upon a native broadcaster who achieves national prominence…..WBUR, Boston announces the winner of its Next Great Show Content and has selected “McSweeney’s Presents.”  The program was submitted – and beat about 400 other program pitches – by McSweeney’s Internet Tendency editor Chris Monks as a way of bringing the online magazine’s humor and insight to radio.  Monks says, “I am thrilled that WBUR chose my idea for the Next Great Show contest.  I look forward to making a radio version of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and the challenge of not bringing shame upon my family of avid WBUR listeners.”  The program is said to be a “satirical look at the world, from pop culture, to politics, to the playground, featuring work of the country’s best established and up-and-coming writers and comics.”

Illegal Immigration Policy/Peter Fonda Tweet, Trump Trade War, U.S.-North Korea Meeting, Cops Kills Black Teen in Pittsburgh, World Cup, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/20).  The controversy over the separation of children from parents in the crackdown on illegal immigration and the related case of Peter Fonda’s Tweet about separating President Trump’s son from his family; the tariffs being tacked on foreign goods and concerns about  global trade war; the aftermath of President Trump’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the death of an unarmed black teenager at the hands of a police officer in Pittsburgh; the World Cup tournament in Russia; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Detroit radio personality Lauren Crocker signs a new contract with Cumulus Media’s hot AC WDVD where she’s co-host of the ‘Blaine Fowler Morning Show.”  She joined the program in 2015.  Program director Robby Bridges says, “It sounds clichéd, but it is the absolute truth.  When Lauren first walked in and interviewed with me seven years ago, I knew then she was going to be a superstar.  To see her flourish as co-host of ‘The Blaine Fowler Morning Show’ alongside Blaine and Matty, become a fixture in the Detroit market, work with local charities and appear on ‘Dish Nation’ and WDIV-TV’s ‘Live in the D’ is just terrific.  Lauren’s star is still on the rise and I’m so glad she’ll be with us at Cumulus into the next decade!”…..In Chicago, Cumulus signs alternative WKQX personalities Walt Flakus and Lauren O’Neil to multi-year contracts.  Flakus is assistant program director, music director, and evening personality.  He’s been with WKQX since 2014.  Midday personality O’Neil is entering her seventh year with the station.  Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren states, “There’s no greater joy than being able to work with incredibly talented people, and Walt and Lauren are two of the most creative, hard-working, and talented people I’ve had the privilege to work with.  They are an essential part of what truly separates us from our competition every day.  Together, Walt, Lauren and the entire staff make 101WKQX one-of-a-kind.”…..WBBM-FM, Chicago morning personality Kevin Buchar, a.k.a. DreX, is off the air as he recovers from complications that arose from a previous surgical procedure.  In the interim, co-host Nina and producer Gabe Ramirez are handling the show duties…..Colorado Springs classic rock KKFM “Classic Rock 98” appoints Jonathan “J.P.” Peletis afternoon drive host and promotions director.  Cumulus Media Colorado Springs operations manager Bobby Irwin says, “J.P. brings to KKFM and our station cluster an awesome mix of radio rock show, digital marketing and promotions experience, with passion for the Colorado lifestyle.”…..Longport Media agrees to sell Atlantic City CHR WWAC “AC 102.7” to Educational Media Foundation for $570,000.  EMF will convert the station into a non-profit and flip it to a Christian music format…..iHeartMedia and MediaLink combined to host the seventh annual intimate VIP Dinner in Antibes, France during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.  On Tuesday evening (6/19), the VIP Dinner included a special performance by Jon Bon Jovi.  Attendees included corporate officers from such firms as Unilever, AT&T, Google, Vivendi, Conde Nast and others.  Katie Couric and Ryan Seacrest were also in attendance.  Picture below are (from l-r): Gayle Troberman, chief marketing officer for iHeartMedia; Tom Poleman, chief programming officer for iHeartMedia; Rich Bressler, president, COO and CFO of iHeartMedia; Jon Bon Jovi; John Sykes, president of entertainment enterprises for iHeartMedia; Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia; and Tim Castelli, president of national sales and marketing partnerships for iHeartMedia.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

| June 5, 2018

Cumulus Media Emerges from Chapter 11. The company said it would emerge from Chapter 11 reorganization during the second quarter of this year and that turns out to be the case.  In a statement, Cumulus Media says it has “successfully completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11 having reduced its debt by more than $1 billion.  The Company plans to utilize its enhanced financial flexibility to continue its ongoing business transformation and drive value creation on behalf of all its stakeholders.”  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner adds, “Over the last two years, we have been relentlessly focused on our plans to turn the Company around, and the completion of our financial restructuring process is a monumental step forward on our turnaround path.  We emerge today as a stronger and more competitive Company, with the financial foundation that we need to move forward decisively with the initiatives that will produce the greatest benefits for the Company.  With this financial restructuring now behind us, we are excited about what we will be able to accomplish with all of our resources and energy fully focused on our operating business.”  In the statement, Cumulus reports that it reduced its total debt balance from $2.34 billion to $1.30 billion, consisting entirely of a term loan bearing interest at LIBOR plus 450 basis points and due May 15, 2022.  “Also, pursuant to the terms of the financial restructuring, the Company’s previously outstanding equity was cancelled and certain former stakeholders are being issued 11,052,211 shares of the Company’s Class A common stock, 5,218,209 shares of the Company’s Class B common stock and warrants to purchase 3,729,589 shares of common stock in exchange for their prior claims. Except with regard to voting and conversion rights, shares of Class A common stock and Class B common stock are identical in all respects.  Generally, the holders of shares of Class B common stock are not entitled to vote on any matters, although such shares are convertible into shares of Class A common stock, subject to FCC rules and regulations and the Company’s governance documents. We have applied to have our Class A common stock listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol CMLS and, until such time, expect that such shares will be quoted on the OTC Pink Sheets under the symbol CMIA.”

Kathy Smith to Lead Cumulus Eugene, Oregon. At Cumulus Media’s Eugene, Oregon station group, Kathy Smith is the new VP/market manager.  She was most recently Alpha Media Portland’s general sales manager.  Cumulus Eugene includes news/talk KUGN and sports talk KUJZ-FM and four music outlets.  Cumulus EVP Bob Walker says, “We are very pleased to have Kathy leading our team in Eugene.  Her deep experience and true passion for the Pacific Northwest region make her an incredible asset to our six great stations and the community they serve.”

‘97.9 ESPN Hartford’ Names Bob Joyce UConn Sports Executive Producer. At sports talker WUCS-FM, Hartford “97.9 ESPN Hartford,” Bob Joyce is named executive producer for University of Connecticut Athletics content.  Joyce’s duties include serving as the radio voice for Women’s Basketball and Men’s Hockey, handling play-by-play, and working closely with “The Rob Dibble Show.”  He’ll report to iHeartMedia Connecticut program director for sports and talk Ben Darnell.  iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb states, “We are excited to have Bob Joyce on our team.  Bob brings continuity and a high-quality professionalism to our UConn content.  He is well known in the market and with UConn fans and we are confident he will bring UConn sports broadcasting to new levels.”

Hayley Tenpas Named WHBY, Appleton Talk Host.  In the Appleton-Green Bay, Wisconsin market, Woodward Communications names Hayley Tenpas host of the afternoon drive “Focus Fox Valley” program that airs from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Tenpas formerly served as news anchor at Scripps’ WGBA-TV, Green Bay.  She is a native of the Fox Valley, having grown up in Hortonville.  She earned her broadcast journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  WHBY brand manager Justin Hull says, “We are excited to welcome Hayley to the WHBY team.  Her passion for the community will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.”

TALKERS News Notes.  On Monday (6/11), 77 WABC Radio in New York is hosting the first GOP primary debate between U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan and former Congressman Michael Grimm.  The station says the two are locked in a “tight and heated race” for New York’s 11th Congressional District.  The one-hour live debate will take place at WABC Radio studios in New York City at 12:00 noon ET and veteran journalist and WABC Radio host and political editor Rita Cosby will serve as moderator as part of the first hour of her talk show with Curtis Sliwa, “Curtis + Cosby.”…..The legal case of St. Louis talk show host Jamie Allman against Emmis Communications and Entercom is being moved from Missouri state court to federal court.  RegularTALKERS readers remember that Allman is suing the two companies for breach of contract after Allman was let go from his KFTK-FM radio show in the aftermath of social media comments he made about Parkland, Florida student David Hogg.  At the time of his firing from KFTK-FM, Entercom was LMAing the station from Emmis as it waited to close on the purchase of the station…..The GCN nationally syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs program is added to the program schedule at KBDB-HD3, Forks, Washington…..Longtime KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City talk show host Doug Wright said a final farewell to his listeners on Friday, June 1.  Wright retired from the Bonneville-owned news/talk station after more than 40 years on the air in the market.  To fill the air time left open by Wright’s retirement, Bonneville is expanding the “Dave and Dujanovic” show to 9:00 am to 12:00.

Joe Brewer Promoted at Katz Media Group.  Twenty-two-year staffer Joe Brewer is promoted to president of business operations at Katz Media Group.  Brewer – who started with the company in 1996 – was most recently chief administrative officer.  In this position, Brewer will increase his focus on business operations across Katz Radio Group, Katz Television Group and Katz Digital with the goal of streamlining company processes and aligning all technology and innovation initiatives with company goals.

AWMF to Honor Judy Woodruff at Gracies Awards Luncheon. The leadership of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour,” will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 43rd Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 27 at Cipriani 42ndStreet in New York. The annual Gracies Luncheon honors individual achievement and outstanding programming at the local level for TV and radio, public level for radio, and student level for TV, radio and interactive media.  CNN’s Erica Hill will host the luncheon.   AWMF chair Christine Travaglini says, “The Gracie Awards celebrate the female storytellers who are changing the narrative and pushing boundaries in the quest toward diversity and equality.  Since the beginning of her journalism career in 1976, Judy Woodruff’s connected, well-researched approach is consistently present and illustrates why she is so worthy of this Lifetime Achievement Award. We at AWM and AWMF, through the Gracies, are incredibly proud to honor and celebrate outstanding talent and content for, by and about women.”

Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Allegations, Trump Uninvites Eagles to White House, SCOTUS Cake Ruling, Iran Nuclear Deal, Bill Clinton NBC Interview, North Korea Summit, Dwight Clark Dies, NBA Finals, and Major League Baseball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4). The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and allegations that Paul Manafort attempted to tamper with witnesses; President Trump uninvites the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to the White House; the Supreme Court rules in favor of Denver baker who refused to make wedding cake for gay couple; the aftermath of the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal; Bill Clinton’s reaction to being questioned about Monica Lewinsky on “Today” show interview; the status of the U.S.-North Korea summit; San Francisco 49ers great Dwight Clark dies at 61; the Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals; 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.

BFoA Establishes Joseph M. Bilotta Memorial Fund. The Broadcasters Foundation of America has established the Joseph M. Bilotta Memorial Fund in honor of the broadcaster who died this past Friday (6/1) at age 69 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  BFoA president Jim Thompson states, “Joe was a friend and champion of the Broadcasters Foundation and our industry. He devoted time and energy to advancing broadcasting and to helping colleagues in need.  He will be missed by many, personally and professionally.”  Bilotta spent more than 40 years at Buckley Broadcasting where he helped build the group’s standing through such noted stations as WOR-AM, New York and WDRC-AM and WDRC-FM in Hartford.  Bilotta was saluted by his colleagues in April with the coveted Ward L. Quaal Leadership Award, given by the Broadcasters Foundation of America at a breakfast ceremony held during the 2018 NAB Show.  To donate to the Joseph M. Bilotta Memorial Fund, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org, call 212-373-8250, or email info@thebfoa.org.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Joining Envision Networks as assistant marketing manager is Kelsey Shawgo.  She comes to Envision with a background in writing and music journalism.  She has been published in Substream Magazine, Fashion Meets Music Festival Magazine, and was a staff news writer and features writer for Alternative Press before joining Envision Networks. She also has worked in promotions for the now-Entercom-owned Cleveland station cluster.  Envision says, “Kelsey’s acumen for millennial sentimentalities with a focus on new media and creative content will enhance Envision Networks’ marketing team.  She aims to strengthen the brand voice of Envision Networks in all written and graphic content including public relations, social media, and the monthly journalistic Envision Insider newsletter…..iHeartMedia announces the primetime lineup for its iHeartRadio Music Festival taking place in Las Vegas September 21 and 22.  Performers include: Justin Timberlake, Jack White, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, Jason Aldean, Sam Smith, Luke Bryan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Panic! At The Disco, Kelly Clarkson, Shawn Mendes, Kygo, Rae Sremmurd, Logic, and more…..iHeartMedia Chicago announces that market radio pro Lisa Dent is joining country WBGG “BIG 95.5” to host weekend programs.  Dent previously co-hosted mornings on Entercom’s crosstown WUSN-FM in Chicago for 10 years before launching her first business, Lisa Dent Speaks, LLC, and building her own studio, The Radio Farm…..Cumulus Media’s Atlanta CHR WWWQ “Q100” launches a new online destination called Q-U at quatlanta.com.  Cumulus says Q-U “puts listeners first with video content that brings together the ‘Q100’ listening community in a new way and includes original content from listeners who share their lives with others who have a passion for hit music.  Q-U tackles issues affecting young adults on a daily basis, including relationships, jobs, college loans, family and activism.”  Cumulus Media Atlanta VP and market manager Sean Shannon adds, “Q-U builds the ‘Q100’ brand and elevates and transforms the standard ‘we talk, you listen’ format to a truly integrated conversational fan experience.  We couldn’t be more excited to launch this innovative new destination for Atlantans who love hit music.”…..Westwood One’s nationally syndicated “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” program is broadcasting live from the George Jones Museum in Nashville during this week’s CMA Fest.  Each morning’s live broadcast inside The George Jones is free and open to the public.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

| May 24, 2018

‘Sports Radio 610’ in Houston Adds New Talent to Lineup.  The Entercom sports talk station announces its new lineup that includes new voices Paul Gallant, Fred Davis, and Landry Locker.  Gallant joins the AM drive “Mad Radio” show with Mike Meltser and Seth Payne on KILT-AM.  Fred Davis and Landry Locker are co-hosting the midday “In the Loop” show with John Lopez.  The changes take effect on Tuesday (5/29).  Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “‘SportsRadio 610’ has long been the sports leader in Houston and part of remaining on top is continuing to evolve with the needs of our audience.  I’m excited about the energy that Paul will bring to mornings and Fred and Landry will bring to middays.”

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. As Garrett Morris’ fictional “Saturday Night Live” character Chico Escuela used to say, “Baseball been berry, berry good to me!” Stations that serve as flagships for MLB teams certainly hope that baseball will be good to them each season.  Today, TALKERS magazine editor Mike Kinosian presents the first PPM analysis of the 2018 baseball season that looks at 6+ numbers from Nielsen’s April PPM survey for those stations. Some of the stations that appear to have benefitted from the first month of the season compared to their March numbers include: Entercom’s news/talk KMOX, St. Louis (up 2.3 shares); Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh (up 2 shares); and Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee (up 1.9 shares).  See Kinosian’s full report here.

Redberg Rises to VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Twin Cities. Sales pro Michelle Redberg is promoted to vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Minneapolis market that includes news/talk KTLK “Twin Cities News Talk,” sports talk KFXN-FM “K-Fan,” eight music brands, plus franchise partnerships with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, and University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football, basketball and hockey. Vice president of sales for the Western Great Lakes Region Greg Alexander states, “Michelle is one of the bright stars of our company.  She has a contemporary approach to leadership along with a compassion for our advertisers and an understanding of today’s marketing and business challenges.  Michelle’s passion, skills, energy and drive made her an obvious choice to help lead our strong Twin Cities brands.”

Michael Young Exits Entercom Pittsburgh Market Manager Position.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that market manager Michael Young has exited the position at Entercom’s four-station cluster there that includes news/talk KDKA-AM and sports talk KDKA-FM.  Young was manager of the cluster when it was owned by CBS RADIO and stayed in his position as Entercom assumed ownership.

iHeartMedia Appoints Mark Boudreaux New Orleans Market President.  New Orleans native Mark Boudreaux assumes the market president position at iHeartMedia New Orleans, effective June 11.   iHeartMedia operates news/talk WRNO-FM and sports talk WODT, plus six music formats in the market.  Boudreaux was most recently business development manager at South Central AV. iHM region president Eddie Martiny says, “Who better to run our iHeartMedia New Orleans market than a native New Orleanian?  Mark has a proven track record in the Crescent City as a seller, sales manager and vice president of sales.  We are excited to have Mark and his infectious personality leading iHeartMedia New Orleans.”

Saga Comminucations’ Warren Lada to Retire.  Longtime Saga Communications executive Warren Lada is retiring from the company and his position as chief operating officer at the end of next month.  Saga president and CEO Ed Christian comments, “Warren has been an integral part of Saga for the past 27 years and we will deeply miss his contributions to Saga and its radio stations across the US.” Prior to taking on the corporate role of COO, Lada was president and general manager for Saga’s WAQY-FM, Springfield “Rock 102.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live” – led by principals Ian FreemanMark Edge, and Darryl W. Perry (pictured from l-r at right) — announces a number of new affiliates for the program.  WWMN-FM in Traverse City, Michigan and KUSG-AM in Guam add the program to their schedule and WTTN-AM, Columbus, Wisconsin joins the simulcast of existing progressive talk affiliate WRRD-AM, Waukesha…..Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM “Sports Radio 99.9 The Fan” and WDNC-AM “620 the Ticket” in Raleigh are broadcasting live, play-by-play for all games of this year’s ACC Baseball Championship series that runs through this Sunday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham.  Vice president of programming Dennis Glasgow says, “It is our pleasure to bring as much live content as possible over the next five days with our ACC Baseball coverage to everyone in The Triangle.  We have an excellent arsenal of announcers lined up to bring our listeners and baseball fans the very best play-by-play and analysis from the ACC Baseball Championship at DBAP.”…..cabana, the digital audio division of AdLarge Media, is expanding its podcast portfolio by adding the true crime genre with the podcast “Crime Junkie,” hosted by Ashley Flowers.  “Crime Junkie” launched in December and, according to AdLarge, has been averaging 40,000 downloads per episode…..Tag Station announces that the NextRadio smartphone app for listening to local FM stations is being launched for smartphone users in Mexico.  Tag Station president Paul Brenner comments, “We’re thrilled that NextRadio is now available for use on both iOS and Android devices in Mexico.  We want to empower all users to enjoy local FM radio without having their content restricted by geographic location or choice of device.”…..KXL, Portland news staffers Steve Leader and Rosemary Reynolds were recently honored with awards from the Associated Press.  Leader is AM drive anchor at the Alpha Media station and Reynolds is a reporter.  Leader received the Best Enterprise Reporting award for his series “Walk in the Hood,” a look at the way African American communities have changed in Portland through the eyes of two African Americans who grew up in Portland.  Reynolds received the Best Public Service award for her series “Wanted: Foster Parents,” that addressed the 11,000 children in Oregon in need of foster care…..Pictured below is FOX Sports Radio nationally syndicated talk show host JT “The Brick” emceeing the 11th annual Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic.  This was JT’s fifth year serving as emcee for the event that raised more than $1 million for the American Cancer Society.

Hobnobbing at The Gracies. Pictured above at the 43rd Annual Gracie Awards on Tuesday (5/22) at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles are: Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey (left), Weiss Agency EVP and AWMF director Heather Cohen, and Kris Bailey.

Cool Job Opportunity for KNX Full Time Writer/Producer. Entercom’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles is looking for a fearless, aggressive, energetic, enthusiastic, and creative team player. The right candidate is a real show producer and not just a guest booker. Must have a strong rolodex, good news judgment and the ability to write quick, clear, compelling and concise scripts without the usual cliché’s or news speak. Must work and play well in a fast, high-pressure all-news environment. Intimate knowledge of socializing content in all platforms is a MUST. Prior major-market producing and news writing experience required. Strong multi-tasking and computer skills required. Familiarity with Southern California including politics, pop culture, lifestyle, etc. preferred. Must be available to work all hours, overnights, and weekends. Required to join the Writers Guild of America. For more information, please click here.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Status of North Korea Talks, U.S.-China Relations, New NFL Anthem Protest Rule, Parents Evict Son Case, Milwaukee Police Tase NBA Player, Iran Nuclear Deal, Primary Races, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/23).  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the uncertain status of scheduled talks between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; the state of relations between the U.S. and China after the latter is uninvited from joint military exercises; the NFL bans sideline anthem protests; the court case of the New York couple evicting their 30-year-old son; the Milwaukee police apologize after Bucks player Sterling Brown is tased during a parking violation incident; the aftermath of the U.S. pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal; Tuesday’s primary races in Georgia, Texas, and Kentucky; 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. There’s news from Chicago as Windy City media maven Robert Feder writes today about legendary jock Dick Biondi’s official exit from Cumulus Media’s classic hits WLS-FM.  Feder says that at some point Biondi’s status changed from inactive employee – Biondi was hospitalized in April of 2017 for an ailment – to former employee.  Biondi had been hosting a weekend morning show on WLS-FM.  Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren told him Biondi’s employment with the station ended “months ago.”…..Robert Feder also reports that Entercom is promoting weekend and fill-in jock Richard Milne to full-time afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 8:00 pm) personality on triple A WXRT.  The move bumps Jason Thomas to weekend and fill-in duties as well as host of Monday evening’s “The Big Beat” show…..Tomorrow (5.25), Entercom New York’s classic hits WCBS-FM 101.1, New York’s Greatest Hits is broadcasting the “Shannon in the Morning Summer Beach Blastoff” featuring “Scott Shannon & The Big Show” live from the boardwalk at Coney Island.  Hosting the event will be Scott Shannon with Patty Steele, Sue Aller, John Elliot and Brad Blanks, with special performances by Taylor Dayne and Smash Mouth.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

| May 8, 2018

Entercom Reports 2018 Q1 Financial Data; Same-Station Net Revenue Down 7.7%. This is the first full quarter that Entercom is reporting since closing on the CBS RADIO merger back on November 17 of last year.  As a result, the company’s net revenue jumped from $99 million in Q1 of 2017 to $300.6 million in Q1 of this year.  However, on a same-station basis, net revenue for the quarter dipped 7.7%, from $324.9 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $300.6 in the first quarter of this year. Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “Since closing on our merger in November, we have moved quickly to implement rapid change and have made good progress on our various integration, synergy and transformation goals.  We have built a terrific leadership team and are driving strong ratings growth and launching a number of revenue-driving initiatives to capitalize on our scale and compete far more effectively against other media for a larger share of ad spending.  Earlier today, we announced the launch of the Entercom Audio Network, which will enable us to use our scale to participate directly in the $1 billion network radio market.  Our first quarter financial results were adversely affected by soft general local advertising conditions and a number of temporary factors, most notably the exclusion of $12 million in revenue due to financial issues at USTN.  As these temporary factors abate and our growth initiatives take hold, we look forward to driving meaningful sustainable growth as we capitalize on the compelling brands, assets and capabilities of this exciting, emerging company.”

Entercom Audio Network to Launch in July. As mentioned by Entercom president and CEO David Field in the story above, the company is introducing its new ad sales network dubbed, Entercom Audio Network, on July 1.  The company says, “The national network will allow advertisers to leverage Entercom’s scale with targeted offerings across its portfolio of 235 top-rated radio stations reaching over 112 million listeners monthly.” Company chief revenue officer Bob Phillips states, “Entercom now offers brands the national scale they need, including seamless activation and superior ROI. We are the country’s unrivaled leader in news and sports radio and #1 or #2 in virtually all music formats. Our connection to consumers is coveted by many national brands.”  Field adds, “As one of the two largest radio broadcasters in the country, Entercom has the scale and reach to offer national brands a very compelling and effective unwired network with our premier collection of leading radio brands across the country.”

Townsquare Media’s Q1 2018 Net Revenue Up 5.9%.  That figure represents the net revenue for Townsquare Media’s Local Marketing Solutions division – the broadcast and digital operations – and not the live events-oriented Entertainment division.  Combining both divisions, the company’s net revenue was up 6.6% over the same period in 2017.  Townsquare co-CEO Bill Wilson comments, “Once again, our Local Marketing Solutions segment drove the Company’s growth, with net revenue growth of 5.9%, or 5.6% excluding political revenue.  First quarter growth in this segment was driven by continued strength across our local broadcast and digital product offerings, which culminated in our 17th consecutive quarter of positive, organic revenue growth.”  Net revenue in the Local Marketing Solutions in the first quarter was $80.6 million.  The company also reports that it paid off $9.5 million in long-term debt.

Saga Communications Q1 Net Revenue Rises 7.1%.  Michigan-based Saga Communications reports 2018 first quarter net revenue was $28 million – an increase of 7.1% over the same period a year ago.  Operating income from continuing operations increased 17.5% to $2.3 million and station operating expense increased 9.6% to $23.4 million for the quarter.  The company notes that its quarterly results were affected by the sale of its Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina TV stations last September.  On a same-station basis, net revenue increased 0.3% to $26.2 million and operating income from continuing operations increased 26.3% to $2.5 million.  Saga reports having $47.8 million in cash on hand as of March 31 and $49.8 million as of May 1.  The company’s total long-term debt was $25 million as of March 31.

Scripps Radio Division to Be Sold in Pieces.  During yesterday’s conference call with investors, there was just a brief mention of E.W. Scripps’ plans to sell its radio division.  Local Media division president Brian Lawlor responded to a question about the status of the radio stations, saying, “Yes. The radio sale, the process continues. We’ve made a decision in order to maximize the value of the assets to sell the division in several pieces instead of one big bang. I think that’s where we see the greatest value for the company and for shareholders. And so, it’s just a little bit more complicated, I would say, than if it were just a singular transaction.”  That’s not surprising since the company owns two signals in Milwaukee – news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI – and stations in much smaller markets including: Omaha, Boise, Tucson, Knoxville, Wichita, and Tulsa.  As we reported yesterday, there’s an unconfirmed rumor that Entercom is talking with Scripps about the Milwaukee stations.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference transcript.  Members can read it all here.

Greg Neft Named Program Director at ‘PowerTalk 96.7’ in Fresno. Talk radio pro Greg Neft joins iHeartMedia as program director for news/talk KALZ-FM/KRZR-AM, Fresno “PowerTalk 96.7.”  Neft previously worked in the market as a news anchor and reporter.  He has served as morning news anchor at Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and as an NFL reporter for SiriusXM.  Most recently, he was corporate director of news and content programming for Cherry Creek Media.  iHM Fresno SVP of programming Steve Weed comments, “Greg joins us at a very opportune time, heading into a crucial election season for our region and our state.  I look forward to his skills and experience elevating our breaking news coverage.”

Former Seahawk Cliff Avril to Co-Host KJR-AM, Seattle Sports Talk Show. Seattle sports talk outlet KJR-AM “Sports Radio 950” announces that former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril is partnering with the station’s Jason Puckett for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show, effective July 9. Puckett is a 15-year veteran of the iHeartMedia station and Avril retired from the NFL after being released by the Seahawks after a five-year stint.  Avril says, “I’m excited to join the KJR team!  Seattle is home and I can’t wait to cover the best sports city in the world.”

TALKERS News Notes. WNBC-TV, New York is reporting the former Port Authority police superintendent may have violated policy by providing a “lights-and-sirens” escort from the Newark airport into Manhattan for Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh.  The station says Michael Fedorko announced his retirement suddenly, about a week after it became known WNBC-TV reporters were investigating the allegation.  The report says the escort was to get Limbaugh to a charity dinner at which he was a “last-minute” speaker.  It also says Limbaugh talked about it on his radio show, saying, “So they sent the superintendent of the Port Authority to Newark to meet me for lights and sirens into Manhattan to make sure I got there in time.  And we did.”…..Radio sales pro Tim Robisch is named director of sales for Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KDWN.  He most recently served with Great Plains Media in suburban Kansas City.  He’s also held positions with Cox Media GroupEntercom Communications, Susquehanna Radio Corporation, and Katz Radio (at which he was served as regional vice president)…..New affiliate stations sign up for the John Kruse-hosted outdoors radio programs “America Outdoors Radio” and “Northwestern Outdoors Radio.”  Both shows focus on fishing, hunting, and outdoor recreation.  KDZR, Portland and KBOI, Boise recently added both shows to their program schedules…..Patrick Communications managing partner Larry Patrick is delivering the 2018 Commencement Speech for the College of Communications and Information at the University of Tennessee this Saturday (5/12).  Patrick is a 1973 graduate of UT.

Iran Nuclear Deal, Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case, Schneiderman Allegations, John McCain Illness/Book, W.VA Senate Race, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/8).  The looming decision by President Trump whether the U.S. will remain in the Iran nuclear deal; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the Stormy Daniels payoff, Rudy Giuliani’s role representing President Trump, and the “Saturday Night Live” sketch lampooning the issue; New York attorney general – and Donald Trump critic – Eric Schneiderman resigns amid allegations of abusing four women; terminally ill Senator John McCain’s HBO documentary and new book; the U.S. Senate Republican primary race in West Virginia and President Trump’s urging voters to reject controversial GOP candidate Don Blankenship; 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. CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 KISS FM” announces that on-air pro Zann is the iHeartMedia station’s new afternoon drive personality.  She was most recently with Cumulus Media’s KLIF-FM, Dallas as midday personality. She was also heard on Westwood One’s Hot AC and Hits Now 24/7 formats. At the same time, Zach “Mayhem” Wellsandt is the new midday personality who will also serve as APD and music director.  He moves to Seattle from the company’s Central Texas Region where he was director of CHR…..Programming pro Matt Johnson is appointed program director for iHeartMedia’s St. Louis CHR KSLZ-FM “Z107.7.”  iHM SVP of programming Jules Riley comments, “Matt is a solid addition to the KSLZ and iHeart St. Louis team.  We look forward to watching him grow this heritage CHR brand.  We spoke with a number of talented programmers, but Matt’s drive, creativity, and talent development made him our ideal candidate.”…..Cumulus Media announces that radio and television marketing pro Marty Wall is joining the Detroit cluster as director of marketing for country duo WDRQ “NASH FM 93.1” and WDRQ-HD2 “NASH Icon” and hot AC WDVD.  Cumulus Detroit director of FM programming Robby Bridges says, “Marty’s work at ‘Z100’ in New York is legendary.  That, paired with his experience across the media landscape during his years in L.A., gives him the unique ability to connect audiences to station brands and brands to clients.  He’s a relentless competitor whom I believe will be a game changer for our Detroit cluster.  I’m looking forward to his working with me, promotion manager Rochelle Burk, and promo director/street team captain Adam Ficorelli.”…..There are two appointments in the sales department at iHeartMedia Chicago.  First, Khatija Mohiuddin is named general sales manager for hip hop WGCI and CHR WKSC “103.5 KISS FM.”  Also, Brian McGhee is the new general sales manager for urban contemporary WVAZ “V103” and Gospel WGRB-AM “Inspiration 1390.”  iHeartMedia Chicago Region president Matt Scarano states, “We put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities and these two staff promotions are true testaments to Khatija’s and Brian’s leadership skills and ability to form strong client relationships.”  Mohiuddin most recently served as local sales manager for WGCI and WGRB-AM.  McGhee most recently served as sales manager for the company’s St. Louis cluster.

Monday, May 7, 2018

| May 7, 2018

Beasley Q1 Net Revenue Up 2.6%. Comparing the first quarter of 2018 to the same period in 2017, net revenue for Beasley Broadcast Group was $55.2 million, an increase of 2.6%.  The report notes last May’s sale of its six-station Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville cluster and the December asset exchange of WMJX-FM, Boston and $12 million for sports station WBZ-FM and states that this report reflects the operations and results from WBZ-FM in the three months ended March 31, 2018 and the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations and WMJX-FM in the three months ended March 31, 2017.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “In the first quarter of 2018, we continued to execute well on our integration strategy focused on strong local programming to support our goals of ratings and market leadership at recently acquired stations, while implementing our operating and expense management disciplines…The $1.6 million increase in station operating expenses was largely attributable to the Boston market’s sports leader, WBZ-FM, and additional one-time costs related to New England Patriots’ Super Bowl programming.  However, the ongoing success of our expense management initiatives resulted in a year-over-year reduction in operating expenses at our Tampa, Charlotte, Detroit, Fort Myers and Augusta clusters.  As a result, while Beasley’s SOI declined 1.5% year-over-year, after excluding the SOI contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville station divestitures from the comparable 2017 period, first quarter SOI would have been flat.  With our strong operating cash flows we have invested in our broadcast and technology platforms while pursuing select accretive acquisitions and station swaps. At the same time, Beasley remained committed to enhancing shareholder value through capital returns and capital structure improvements. In this regard, during the first quarter, we increased our quarterly cash dividend by 11.1% and declared our nineteenth consecutive quarterly cash dividend. In addition, interest expense decreased approximately $1.2 million year-over-year, reflecting the recent refinancing of our senior debt, which reduced our interest rate by 200 basis points. We also used cash from operations to make voluntary debt repayments of approximately $3.0 million and ended March 31, 2018 with total outstanding debt of $222 million.

E.W. Scripps Q1 Conference Call May Shed Light on Sale of Radio Division.  Or it may not.  It depends on whether Scripps is in serious talks to sell its radio division and whether or not those parties want any public disclosures made at this time.  Scripps made the announcement last fall that it would be selling the radio division that it acquired in the Journal Communications deal to allow it to focus on its television segment. Because of that, Scripps is listing the radio stations as “discontinued operations” in its financial reports. Today’s press release notes, “At the end of 2017, radio operations were classified as held for sale. The radio segment results are included in discontinued operations. All periods have been adjusted to reflect this presentation. Discontinued operations include a $20 million non-cash charge to write down the assets of our radio business to fair value.”  There have been rumors that Scripps has a buyer for its largest market stations – news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI-FM in Milwaukee – and many industry watchers suspect that buyer is Entercom.  Today’s conference call is 9:00 am ET.

Cumulus’ Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors Files Proposed Finding of Facts; Challenges Stated Value of the Company. The 56-page document filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York by The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Cumulus Media Inc., Et Al. challenges the company’s and the senior lenders’ assessment that Cumulus Media is worth $1.67 billion, arguing that its true value is between $2.1 and $2.4 billion.  As Cumulus announced last week, the court has confirmed Cumulus’ reorganization plan based on the $1.67 billion valuation.  In Friday’s filing, the unsecured creditors try to make the point that the calculation of multiples in assessing the value of Cumulus’ stations is too low, “Cumulus should receive a premium multiple relative to comparable companies in the radio industry.”  It also argues that Cumulus’ tower portfolio’s fair market value is $134 million and should add “an additional $45 to $55 million in incremental value to the company.” Read details here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago all-newser WBBM-AM is officially recognizing its 50thanniversary as a news station (the actual 50th was Sunday).  The Entercom station is celebrating the milestone on its website with a history of the station plus photos, old ads and logos and much more.  Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that director of news and programming Ron Gleason told staffers in a memo, “Think about 50 years — all that’s transpired, all the chronicling of Chicago, the state, the country and the world.  You and your predecessors have covered some incredibly exceptional events, and devastating tragedies, doing so with credibility and without bias every step of the way.  I’m so lucky to be part of this, and proud to work alongside each of you on a daily basis.”…..Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee combines with sister country station WKTI to bring home 15 awards for excellence from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.  WTMJ picked up “News & Talk Station of the Year,” “News Operation of the Year,” and “Social & Digital Media Operation of the Year.”  Vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “‘WTMJ Radio’ and ‘KTI COUNTRY’ are committed to providing community service, local news, programming and multi-platform local content to serve our communities.  To be recognized by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is truly a meaningful honor.”…..Mike Calta show cast member Sandra Carmin Herrst was arrested over the weekend on domestic violence charges after she allegedly hit her boyfriend.  Herrst, who goes by Carmin on the WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” morning show, was arrested and released on her own recognizance…..The Westwood One nationally syndicated weekly talk show “Sterling on Sunday” announces it has inked its 50thaffiliate station with the signing of WBAP, Dallas.  The show is hosted by longtime radio executive Walter Sabo, a.k.a. Walter Sterling (pictured at left), who says, “Successful talk stations are aggressively widening their topic offerings and I’m delighted to be heard on 50 of them…and counting.  ‘Sterling on Sunday’ resonates with audiences because it’s a reflection of their real lives. We talk about life with family, life at work, life at the mall. It’s all very relatable. The power of the mirror always wins.”…..The third season of ESPN’s “30 for 30 Podcasts” launches on May 22 with five episodes covering the story of the rise and fall of Bikram yoga and how the community is still grappling with its identity in the wake of the sexual assault allegations against its founder Bikram Choudhury.  The podcast is reported and produced by ESPN’s Julia Lowrie Henderson.….Entercom’s WFAN, New York “The Fan” and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets agree to a multi-year deal for the station to air Nets games and related programming through the 2020-21 season.  As part of the deal, in the case of conflicts, Nets games will air on sister all-news WCBS-AM.

Fifth Annual GAB Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. The 5th annual GAB Radio Talent Institute returns to the campus of the University of Georgia today and Beasley Media Group VP of corporate communications Heidi Raphael was today’s opening speaker for the 10-day institute.  Forty broadcasters from Beasley, Cox Media, Urban One, Entercom, Cumulus, iHeartMedia, Salem Media Group and others – as well as the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons – are coming together to teach the students who come from UGA and seven other schools in the region.  Georgia Association of Broadcasters president Bob Houghton comments, “The Georgia Association of Broadcasters is proud of our partnership with the National Radio Talent System, and now, with our Beasley Media Group relationship, this partnership is even stronger. Over the past five years we have graduated over 100 students who are ready to make a contribution to the future of our industry. I appreciate the nearly 40 broadcasters each year who give their time and talent to speak in the Institute.  Broadcasting, and specifically radio, has a proud past and, with this program, a bright future.”  Pictured above is WSB-FM, Atlanta “B 98.5” afternoon personality Madison James (at left) teaching students.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case/‘SNL’ Sketch, Iran Nuclear Deal, Facebook Helps ISIS Supporters, McCain HBO Documentary/Book, North-South Korea Talks, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the Stormy Daniels payoff, Rudy Giuliani’s role representing President Trump, and the “Saturday Night Live” sketch lampooning the issue; the Trump Administration’s stance on the Iran nuclear deal; allegations that Facebook’s “suggested friends” feature has been connecting those with ISIS sympathies; terminally ill Senator John McCain’s HBO documentary and new book; the peace talks between North and South Korea; Major League Baseball action and NBA playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Is Nearing an Early Sellout. The organizers of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS magazine’s 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – set for Friday, June 8 in New York City – is on course to again be an early sellout.  Friday, May 11 at 5:00 pm ET has been set as the absolute cut-off date past which new registrations will no longer be taken – although according to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We might have to stop taking registrations before that because the number of bodies we can accommodate at this basically intimate gathering is indeed finite.” The power-packed program 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 on-air and online broadcasting professionals. See the list of speakers and up-to-the-minute agenda as well as registration, hotel and sponsorship 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 and organizers have arranged for a special hotel deal for conference attendees right across the street at the Hilton New York Fashion District located at 152 West 26th Street, New York. A special block of remarkably priced rooms has been reserved for convention attendees. They will only be available until May 8 or until they sell out – which can come at any moment. The TALKERS editorial board strongly recommends that industry professionals planning on attending the convention make their registrations and hotel reservations as quickly as possible.

Rock Radio Pioneer and Station Owner Dex Allen Dies at 74.  As reported by LARadio.com, radio pro Dex Allen has died at age 74.  Allen started his career as a DJ and rose through the ranks to work in management and sales before entering the radio ownership business.  LARadio.com writes: “Dex was best known for spearheading the ‘underground’ movement at KPRI, San Diego.  In the late 1960s, he drove to Southern California every weekend to work as a jock at KDAY, Los Angeles (1969-70).  Eventually he became general manager of several stations in San Diego.  Dex made one of those rare journeys from DJ to station owner.”  After years in management, Allen formed Commonwealth Broadcasting and acquired a number of stations.  He was most recently president/CEO of Pacific Start Communications.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York alternative WBMP “ALT 92.3” has a new programming leader as Entercom announces Mike Kaplan is named SVP of programming and PD for the station.  At the same time, the company brings Christine Malovetz aboard to serve as midday personality on the station. Kaplan was most recently PD for iHeartMedia’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles “ALT 98.7.” Malovetz was most recently host of middays and assistant program director for Entrercom’s KNOU-FM, St. Louis.  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “We are thrilled to welcome Mike and Christine to ‘ALT 92.3’ and are looking forward to having their talent and drive propel the brand to new heights in New York.”…..In Miami, Rick Party announces he’s left Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WHQT “HOT 105” after he and the company could not agree to terms on a contract extension…..iHeartMedia appoints Scotty Davis afternoon drive host for country WFUS, Tampa “US103.5.”  Davis slides over from the cluster’s CHR WFLZ where he also hosted afternoons.  He says, “I’ve been eying a move over to the country format for quite some time.  This is a natural next step for my career and I’m thankful to everyone at iHeartMedia for believing in me!”…..Pictured below are hosts Bobby Bones (left) and Candace Cameron Bure (right) backstage at Saturday’s 2018 iHeartCountry Festival By AT&T at The Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

| February 28, 2018

Colin Cowherd Launches ‘The Herd Podcast Network.’ This new podcast network is a cooperative effort by sports talk personality Colin Cowherd, radio syndicator Premiere Networks, and digital business consultancy Red Seat Ventures.  The Herd Podcast Network launches today and features Cowherd’s daily and weekly podcasts, plus other podcasts hand-picked and curated by Cowherd.  One of the first podcasts to join Cowherd’s new platform is “3 and Out with John Middlekauff,” an “unfiltered perspective on the top stories in the NFL and college football, as well as interviews and conversations with the biggest names in the game.”  Beginning in March, sports media figure Doug Gottlieb will host a college basketball and NBA podcast.  Both Cowherd and Gottlieb host nationally syndicated radio shows for FOX Sports Radio.  Cowherd’s show is simulcast on cable’s FOX Sports 1.  The Herd Podcast Network is available on iHeartRadio and other podcast platforms.  Cowherd says, “I’ve said it before – I’ve chosen to work with the best people in the industry and I couldn’t be more excited about this new venture with Premiere Networks and Red Seat Ventures.  This is a unique opportunity for ‘The Herd’ audience to dive deeper into the sports they crave.  If you like what we do on our show, you will like what John, Doug and the other podcast hosts bring to the table.  I’m incredibly lucky to launch this platform for the fans whenever and wherever they happen to be listening.”

PPM Analysis: All-NewsTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s just-released January 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news outlets.  On the heels of the Holiday 2017 survey, 75% of all-news stations saw their 6+ shares increase from the Holiday 2017 to the January 2018 survey.  But, year-over-year, almost three quarters of all-newsers were down (6+) from January 2017 to January 2018.  However, six of the 14 all-news stations in the survey ranked in the top five (6+) in their respective markets in the January PPM survey.  Hubbard’s WTOP, Washington and iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento both ranked #1 in their respective markets, while Entercom’s WINS, New York and KCBS-AM, San Francisco ranked #2 in their markets (KCBS-AM also ranked #2 in the adjacent San Jose market).   See the whole report here.

Scripps Reports 2017 Q4 Financials; Radio Stations in ‘Discontinued Operations.’ The 2017 fourth quarter financial numbers for E.W. Scripps have been released but the exact details of the performance of its radio division is unclear as the company classifies its 34 stations as “held for sale” and their data is part of the “discontinued operations” line item.  As it stood in the fourth quarter, the net income from “discontinued operations” was a loss of $6 million compared to the income of $2.03 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.  For the year as a whole, the category lost almost $2.6 million compared to the gain of $7.3 million for all of 2016. In January, the television-focused Scripps retained Kalil & Co. to sell its radio stations.

Cox Media Group Appoints Commodore Integrated News Director for Tulsa.  News director Tina Commodore has been with Cox Media Group in Tulsa since November 2016 serving TV station KOKI-TV, Tulsa.  Now, she becomes news director for the converged Tulsa market, driving news content for news/talk KRMG-AM/FM.  CMG Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther comments, “This new role will be responsible for integrating two powerful news brands across all platforms.  Tina is a talented leader and will have a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at the way we gather and cover news across our radio, TV and digital platforms in Tulsa.”  Prior to joining CMG Tulsa, Commodore was managing editor for the company’s WSB-TV, Atlanta. In that role, she helped lead daily operation of the newsroom and coverage of breaking news events.

Mike Gallagher Chats with Vice President Mike Pence.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher (right) interviewing Vice President Mike Pence (left) at the 75th National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville.  The two are old friends going back to Pence’s days hosting a radio talk show on WIBC, Indianapolis.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk WWBA-AM/W252DF, Tampa recently partnered with the Lou Piniella Celebrity Golf Classic to help raise funds for Score International, which helps bring about awareness of human trafficking.  Air personality Erik Kuselias broadcast his daily afternoon show live from the event…..ABC-TV is ordering a total of nine episodes of Alec Baldwin’s new talk show.  The program is called “Sundays With Alec Baldwin” and features Baldwin interviewing people from the world of entertainment and politics.  It’s a television version of his WNYC podcast.  His first guests are comedian Jerry Seinfeld and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kate McKinnon.  The first episode airs this Sunday night after the Academy Awards broadcast…..AdLarge Media’s cabana division is expanding its podcast offerings with the new Parents on Demand (POD) Network.  This curated collection of podcasts focus on parent-friendly topics ranging from pregnancy, infancy, and adoption to nourishing meals, childcare, and the teen years.

Serving Up Drinks for Charity.  “Man about town” Brad Shepard, GM and morning host of hyper-local online radio station Pioneer Valley Radio (www.PioneerValleyRadio.com) in Western Massachusetts, served as a celebrity bartender at the local chapter of Junior Achievement’s fundraiser held at Plan B Burger in Downtown Springfield last night (2/27).  All the tips for the bartenders go to Junior Achievement for local youth K-12.  Shepard is a scheduled speaker at TALKER 2018: Full Speed Ahead! on June 8 in New York City.  Photo by Hoang ‘Leon’ Nguyen.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Hicks Testimony, Kushner Security Status, NRA vs Delta, North Korea Chemical Weapons Allegations, Xi Jinping Power Grab, Papa John’s Ends NFL Sponsorship, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27).  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and White House communications director Hope Hicks’ testimony before the House Intelligence Committee; the shaky status of Jared Kushner’s security clearance; Delta’s ending of its business relationship with the NRA and Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle’s threat to punish Delta; the UN report suggesting North Korea is providing Syria with materials for chemical weapons; Chinese president Xi Jinping’s elimination of term limits for himself; Papa John’s ends its NFL sponsorship; 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. In Seattle, Hubbard Radio announces that Tori Dunn is appointed the new promotions and marketing director for KNUC “Country 98.9.”  Dunn says of her new gig, “To be a part of such a special brand like ‘Country 98.9’ is an extreme honor and I am incredibly appreciative of the support of Lisa Adams, Marc Kaye and the Hubbard Radio Seattle family.  My dreams are coming true being able to walk through the doors each day with Country 98.9!”…..Envision Networks and Kroeger Media Inc. announce that Neuhoff Media’s WBBE, Bloomington, Illinois is joining the BOB FM family, adding the adult hits format to the station.  Kroeger Media president Howard Kroeger says, “In Panama City, Florida, BOB FM recently hit number one in Persons 12+.  The format is in touch with the current listening trends and methodology to take a station to the top of the ratings.  ‘BOB FM 97.9’ is ready to take its rightful place in Bloomington.”

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