Tag: "surgery"

Tuesday, January 9, 2017

| January 9, 2018

Anne Gress Named Brand Manager at ‘New Jersey 101.5.’  Radio programming pro Anne Gress is the new brand manager for Townsquare Media’s talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”  She takes over for longtime station programmer Eric Johnson, who exited the station at the end of 2017 to become the director of sports content for Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia.  Townsquare market president and chief revenue officer Ron DeCastro comments, “I am extremely happy to have a true professional like Anne join the team at ‘NJ 101.5.’  I have long admired Anne’s work, going back to our days at ‘Power 99.’  She is innovative, creative and understands how to work with talented people.  We are all excited to have her join this winning team.”   Gress – who has worked in the Philly market at such stations as hot AC WYXR, smooth jazz WJJZ, hip hop WUSL, and classic hits WOGL – says, “I’m genuinely excited to join the team at Townsquare Media and ‘NJ 101.5.’  Their unique format, rock star staff, and consistently strong ratings make this an irresistible opportunity.  I look forward to adding my voice to their highly successful model.”

New Year Brings Dave Ramsey 600th Affiliate; Podcast Achievements.  2018 is off to a great start for talk media superstar Dave Ramsey.  His nationally syndicated radio program – The Dave Ramsey Show – just cleared its 600th affiliate station with the addition of Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco.  Also, the Dave Ramsey show podcast is being recognized by iTunes as the fourth-most-downloaded podcast of 2017.  The podcast averaged 10 million downloads per month.  Ramsey Media SVP Brian Mayfield comments, “We are pleased to not only top the 600-affiliate watermark, but to do so with a station the caliber of KSFO is validation we are doing things right.  Growing our radio audience by almost 1 million listeners in 2017, while simultaneously becoming the fourth-most-downloaded podcast of the year, shows there is a larger audience searching for solid content.  We are honored they chose to listen to ‘The Dave Ramsey Show.’”

Curtis Sliwa Returns to the Air on WABC. New York City talk radio pro Curtis Sliwa – pictured at right walking through the streets of NYC on his way to Columbia Presbyterian to have his stitches removed – was back on the air at 77WABC yesterday (1/8) after a December 13 surgery to treat Crohn’s disease.  Sliwa tells TALKERS magazine that yesterday was the first day he was able to do his daily midday show and the 5:00 pm “The Drive at Five” program since last month’s procedure.  Speaking about yesterday’s shows, he says, “It was exhausting and I am sore as a result.  But having lived on a variety of pain killers for the past two years I was able to jump right back into the ‘Fire and Fury,’ which I actually read.  More importantly I am taking it right to Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his opposition to medical marijuana.  I will be registering for my medical marijuana card in New York State, which is not easy to get, but for which I now qualify.”

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

Salem Media Group Announces Executive Appointments.  First, Jamie Cohen is the new vice president/local digital.  He was most recently with USAToday Network where he was in charge of digital sales.  Salem Media Group president of broadcast media David Santrella states, “Providing our clients with multi-dimensional marketing campaigns that include best-in-class digital services is vital to our continued growth.  Jamie has the drive and experience to lead that evolution for Salem’s broadcast division and I’m thrilled to have him joining us in this key position.”  Second, Lorenzo Caldara is named general manager of the Philadelphia duo of news/talk WNTP and Christian talk WFIL.  Caldara was most recently VP/corporate director of sales for Townsquare Media’s WKXQ, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”  And third, the company promotes Kevin Anderson from general sales manager to general manager for the five-station Nashville cluster.

Fire and Fury Book/Trump’s Presidential Fitness, Golden Globe Awards/Oprah Presidential Run, Trump Deportation Policy/Mexican Wall, CNN’s Tapper-Miller Interview, Soaring Dow/Bitcoin, North-South Korea Talks, Monday’s College Football Championship, and the NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9).   The controversy over Michael Wolff’s Trump book Fire and Fury, the issue of Donald Trump’s mental fitness, and Stephen K. Bannon’s relationship with the White House; Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards and the related chatter about an Oprah Winfrey presidential run; the Trump Administration’s Salvadoran deportation policy and the Mexican Wall issue; the flap over Jake Tapper’s interview with Trump counsel Stephen Miller on CNN; the high-flying Dow and the fluctuating Bitcoin; the talks between North and South Korea; Monday night’s College Football Championship between Alabama and Georgia; and the NFL Playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WABC’s John Batchelor to Broadcast from Qatar.  Night host John Batchelor is broadcasting his WABC, New York talk show from Doha, Qatar this week after accepting an invitation from the Middle East nation.  Batchelor is leading a delegation of visitors including former Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCottter and New York attorney Christopher Nixon Cox.  Batchelor is scheduled to speak with high Qatar government officials about regional politics, trends in international trade, and much more.  He’ll speak with area ministers, corporate leaders, academics, journalists, students, and artists.  And he’ll also provide coverage and discussion about the preparations for the 2022 World Cup taking place in Qatar.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “Batchelor leads the international conversation in talk radio, so it only makes sense that he places focus on Qatar and the entire Persian Gulf region during his show this week.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk host Dana Loesch interviewed Vice President Mike Pence on her Radio America-syndicated program yesterday.  The two discussed tax reform, North Korea, The Golden Globes, legislative plans for 2018 as well as the controversial book Fire & Fury (which Pence referred to as a “book of fiction”).  On North Korea, Pence told Loesch and her listeners, “President Trump has been marshaling unprecedented economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea.  And to have North Korea literally be willing, as they’ll do later today, to sit down with South Korea – just on the topic of Olympics – I think is a direct result of the pressure that President Trump has been able to marshal on North Korea.  And we’re not going to relent until North Korea abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”…..Portland news/talk KUFO “Freedom 970” adds the Dave Ramsey show to air in the 9:00 am 12:00 noon daypart.  Bruce Collins is the content director for the Alpha Media station and he says, “It’s great to have Dave as part of our lineup giving his wonderful, amazing financial advice.”…..John O’Brien – one half of the “Bax & O’Brien” morning show on Saga Communications’ rock WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts “Rock 102,” is taking time off the radio to undergo and recuperate from surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.  The recovery could take three months, so producer Steve Nagle is ramping up his on-air presence alongside co-host Mike Baxendale…..Somerville, New Jersey-based Edison Research announces it has additional office space and promoted a number of employees as part of a significant expansion due to growth in its election and audio research.  Edison has been the sole provider of exit polling to the National Election Pool since 2003.  In mid-2017, the company was also awarded the sole contract to provide vote count data to the NEP, and many of the company’s new hires will be dedicated to that effort. In addition, Edison is expanding its digital audio portfolio, as the company has seen significant growth in research engagements in podcasting, streaming audio, and the syndicated Share of Ear research series.  Edison Research president Larry Rosin comments, “We are honored by the immense trust placed upon us by our election, media, and consumer research clients over the past 24 years and we are thrilled to be able to continue to grow and expand our capabilities.  We know we have the right team in place to continue to achieve our objectives.”…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs tells TALKERS magazine she’s celebrating her ninth anniversary hosting a talk radio show.  She says, “What started as a once-a-week broadcast on January 9, 2009 has now become a dream come true.  Thanks for all your support.”

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. “Y108” in Pittsburgh announces two new voices joining the morning drive “Broadway’s Backyard” program.  Entercom’s country WDSY brings Jade and Cowboy Curt aboard as co-hosts alongside show host Broadway.  Jade has been a promotions assistant, control operator and part-time talent on the station.  Cowboy Curt was most recently the control operator for sister stations KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” and KDKA-AM “News Radio 1020”…..The nationally syndicated music morning program “The Bert Show” is seeking a co-host.  Brian Moote is exiting after two years to be closer to his family in Los Angeles.  Send resume and audio submissions highlighting your personality to cohost@thebertshow.com…..Classic rock WLPW-FM, Lake Placid, New York is sold to North Country Radio for $32,000 cash.  The seller, Radio Lake Placid, is represented by Jason James of Patrick Communications…..The latest Westwood One blog post looks at the results from a question asked by researcher Vision Critical/MARU: How many Pandora, Spotify, and AM/FM radio listeners actually hear ads?  WW1 says the results indicated “only 54% of Pandora and Spotify listeners pay attention to ads.  Advertisers hoping to reach an engaged audience won’t be effective across these platforms.  These listeners are using Pandora and Spotify at home, with these services being great for “chilling out” but not so great for engaging with the advertisements.  AM/FM radio sees a much different story.  On average, 84% of the AM/FM radio audience hears the ads.  Whether they are at home, at work, or traveling in the car, the results show that consumers hear what people are talking about when they listen to AM/FM radio.”…..Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner will be the spotlight of a keynote conversation at Country Radio Seminar 2018 on Tuesday, February 6.  Emmis CommunicationsCharlie Morgan is conducting the interview, titled, “Radio Today with Cumulus Media’s CEO Mary Berner.”

PPM Analysis: Hot AC.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on 6+ data from Nielsen Audio’s December PPM survey, today focusing on the hot AC format.  Looking at ratings movement month-to-month, Kinosian says, “Twice as many stations on this hot AC panel (58%) are down November 2017 – December 2017 (6+) as are up (29%); the remaining 13% are flat.  Comparing December 2016 to December 2017, approximately one of every two hot AC panelists in our sample improves year-to-year (51%), while 44% are down; 5% are flat.”  During this survey, three hot AC stations ranked #1 in their respective markets: iHeartMedia’s WLIT, Chicago; Connoisseur Media’s WALK-FM, Long Island; and Palm Beach Broadcasting’s WRMF, West Palm Beach.  See the rest of the report here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

| December 13, 2017

Stationality Forces Cumulus’ Hand in Cancellation of Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano Show on WLS-AM.  Windy City news/talk WLS-AM is making a change to its programming lineup in January and husband-and-wife midday team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano are the casualties of the change.  WLS-AM will import Cumulus-syndicated Chris Plante for the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show and push Premiere Network’s Rush Limbaugh back to an 11:00 am start in order to air live.  Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder that he respects Sirott and Murciano greatly.  “The lane we’ve chosen to be in is the conservative talk station in this marketplace.  We just don’t think that’s what they bring to the table.”

Portland Sports Talker KPOJ Re-Branded; Cable-Radio Simulcast for New Local Shows.  A major co-operative effort between iHeartMedia’s sports talk KPOJ, Portland and NBC Sports Northwest is announced that will include a cable TV simulcast of the station’s local shows to be produced at “a new state-of-the-art radio studio being built at NBC Sports Northwest.”  The current morning show “Rip City Mornings with Dan & Nigel” and afternoon program “Rip City Drive with Travis & Chad” will be joined by the new “Dwight Jaynes & Aaron Fentress Show” (airing 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) for the simulcast.  Meanwhile, starting in January, the station will call itself “NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio.”  It will continue to air FOX Sports Radio’s Rich Eisen from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  iHeartMedia Markets Group president of Pacific Northwest Region Robert Dove says, “We are excited to partner with NBC Sports Northwest to bring ‘Rip City Radio’ listeners the best in local sports programming.  Our combined assets will provide even more access for Portland sports fans across both TV and radio, including enhanced audio and visual content for Trailblazer fans all in one destination.”

WABC’s Curtis Sliwa to Be Off Air While Recovering from Crohn’s Surgery.  New York radio personality Curtis Sliwa is undergoing surgery to alleviate the problems he’s been dealing with from Crohn’s disease over the past two years.  Sliwa tells TALKERS the Crohn’s has taken a toll on his health.  “I have lost my muscle mass and, in the process, 60 pounds.  The pain throughout has been horrific.  At times, it caused me to pass out and gather into a fetal position on the floor.  Often times the only way that I could keep broadcasting was to take ‘Hillbilly Heroin,’ a.k.a Oxycodone, to suppress the overwhelming pain.  The cause of the ulcerated intestines that will be removed during the procedure were the five gun shots I was hit with in my lower extremities in the summer of 1992, the result of a hit ordered on me by John Gotti for what I was saying on the radio about the Gambino Crime Family.  Best-case scenario is that it will take me a week of recovery at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.  Worst-case scenario, a month or more.”  Sliwa says WABC management will be using a series of replacements for both of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and the “The Drive Home” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Mike Francesa Hosts Penultimate WFAN Show from Paley Center. Tomorrow afternoon (12/14), New York sports talk radio legend Mike Francesa will broadcast his second-last show on Entercom’s WFAN “Sports Radio 660 AM – 101.9 FM” live before a studio audience from the Paley Center for Media.  Entercom is inviting the media to cover the event and is making Francesa available for one-on-one interviews prior to the show.  Francesa – who has been a bit cagey about his post-WFAN plans – has said he’ll broadcast solo on Friday with no guests or special content.  He is being replaced by the trio of Chris Carlin, Bart Scott, and Maggie Gray, effective in January.

WFDF, Detroit Suspends Reverend W.J. Rideout’s Show for Accusation Lacking ‘Journalistic Standards.’  As reported by the Detroit Free Press, WFDF, Detroit “910AM Superstation” founder and CEO Kevin Adell has suspended the program of local pastor Reverend W.J. Rideout III after the latter accused three members of the Detroit media of sexual harassment but was unable to point to any victims or reports of allegations.  Adell tells the paper that the suspension was handed down for obvious reasons.  “Rev. Rideout was making these accusations and I asked, where are the victims?  He had no victims…My question is where are the standards?  What are the journalistic standards?  Where are the victims?  Former victims?  You have to have journalistic standards.  I don’t want people to use my airwaves to feather a nest for media attention.”  Rideout said that WXYT-TV, Detroit general manager Mike Murri received complaints about anchors Malcolm Maddox and Steven Clark but refused to investigate.  He also accused Detroit Free Press journalist Stephen Henderson.

TALKERS News Notes.  Texas talk show host Sam Malone – based at Salem Media Group’s KNTH, Houston “AM 1070 The Answer” – was embedded with the Roy Moore campaign reporting for Salem Radio Network on the Alabama Senate special election, yesterday (12/12).  Malone (left) is pictured here with former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon (right), who is now co-hosting the “Breitbart News Daily” program on SiriusXM…..Tribune news/talk WGN, Chicago is debuting “The WGN Radio Holiday Spectacular,” – a live, variety show featuring the station’s talent – on Friday (12/15) from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  It’s being co-hosted by Bill Leff and Dometi Pongo.  Listeners will be treated to seasonal songs, classic stories, yuletide poetry and a live report from a certain workshop at the North Pole over the course of the two-hour show.  This holiday revue stars: Steve Cochran, Andrea Darlas, Roe Conn, Anna Davlantes, Nick Digilio, Patti Vasquez, Justin Kaufmann, Lou Manfredini, and many more with a dramatic reading from the great Bill Kurtis.  Retro rock and roll band Rosie and the Rivets will perform as the house band…..From December 18 through New Year’s Day, SiriusXM’s Howard 100 channel will feature the best of Howard Stern’s celebrity interviews from 2017.   Some of the stars featured on “Howard 101: The Interviews” include: Miley Cyrus, Kevin Hart, Scarlett Johansson, David Letterman, Adam Levine, Robert Plant, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, and more, as well as news figures ranging from Rachel Maddow to Robert O’Neill, the Navy Seal credited with killing Osama Bin Laden…..Speaking of Kevin Hart, he’s getting his own channel with SiriusXM called Laugh Out Loud.  The channel extends Hart’s Laugh Out Loud brand to radio for the first time. It will launch in 2018 and will feature a weekly show hosted by Hart.  He’ll also handpick a selection of diverse comedic voices to create, produce and star on the channel’s wide range of comedy programming…..…..Entercom Communications announces new call letters for “CBS Sports 910” in Hesperia, California from KRAK to KMPS-AM.  The announcement comes after Entercom’s merger with CBS RADIO…..The sale of translator W290AT, Plattsburgh, New York from Saranac Lake Radio LLC to Vox AM/FM LLC closes.  The buyer paid $20,000 cash at closing and the exclusive broker for the deal was Patrick Communications.

Roy Moore-Doug Jones Special Election; Larry King Allegations/NFL Network Suspensions, NYC Pipe Bomb Attack, North Korea Nuclear Program, Jerusalem Recognition Aftermath, California Wildfires, Bitcoin Activity, Last Jedi Criticism, Facebook ‘Guilt,’ NFL and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12).  Yesterday’s special election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat; allegations of groping against Larry King and the suspension of numerous NFL Network personalities during an investigation of sexual misconduct; Monday’s pipe bomb attack and information about the suspect; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and threats against the US; the effects of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel; the raging wildfires in Southern California; the hoopla over Bitcoin activity; the critical previews of the new Star Wars film The Last Jedi; a former Facebook exec’s public expression of remorse over social media’s effects on society; and NFL and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

PPM Analysis: CHRTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey, today focusing on CHR.  Comparing 6+ weekly AQH shares from October’s survey to this month, Kinosian says, “Nearly the same number of our mainstream CHR panelists are up October 2017 – November 2017 (47%) as are down (41%); the remaining 12% are unchanged.”  A year-over-year comparison shows different results.  “Six of 10 stations in this mainstream CHR sample are down November 2016 – November 2017 (60%); roughly one of three improve (35%); and 5% remain steady.”  The high-cuming format racked up 17 stations ranking in the top five in their respective markets in November.  But, just one – iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108 FM” – ranked #1.  See the entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At the Washington cluster of iHeartMedia, Elizabethany is the new assistant program director and afternoon drive personality for CHR WIHT “HOT 99.5.”  Beginning in January, she’ll host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm show.  “HOT 99.5” program director Rob Kruz comments, “I couldn’t be more excited to have Elizabethany in this new role at iHeartMedia Washington.  Her energy and creativity both in and out of the studio, combined with a track record of ratings success, make her the perfect choice to take over afternoons on ‘HOT 99.5!’”…..iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles radio stations are launching the iHeartRadio So Cal Fire Relief Project to raise funds for victims of the ongoing Southern California wildfires. The effort is in conjunction with Westfield – owner of four malls in the LA area.  iHeartMedia talent will broadcast live from those locations, encouraging people to donate to the fund.  All donations are being distributed through three local organizations including the American Red Cross, The Humane Society of Ventura County and the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation…..Cumulus Media Des Moines is hosting the Big Country Bash 2018 – a two-day country music festival on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23, 2018 at Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater in St. Charles, Iowa.  Artists including Brett Eldredge, Midland, Aaron Watson, and Russell Dickerson are already signed up to appear, with more artists to be announced later…..Entercom Philadelphia’s station group is producing the first annual “Holiday Hops Craft Beer Festival.”  Attendees aged 21 years and older are invited to revel in the holiday spirit by enjoying a wide variety of beers and wearing their ugly sweaters.  The festive event will include a photo booth with mistletoe, free parking and live music along with unlimited samplings from some 25 craft breweries…..Entercom announces it’s bringing new call letters to its Seattle adult contemporary “94.1 The Sound,” importing KSWD-FM from its longtime position as the calls for the Los Angeles classic rocker.  The station was sold to Educational Media Foundation as part of the company’s divestiture of stations prior to the CBS RADIO merger.  It’s now a Christian contemporary station with the calls KKLQ.

‘Radio’s Best Friend’ Honored in NYC.  “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo was “surprised out of his wits” last Saturday night when – while attending a private client party in Manhattan hosted by voiceover pro Steve Kamer and “Entertainment Tonight” producer Kevin Gershan – it was announced that Vuolo was a “special guest.”  Vuolo was presented with a cake and a microphone trophy with a gold plaque commemorating the event.  Vuolo says, “It’s truly special to be so appreciated.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): Gershan, Kamer, and Vuolo.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

| September 25, 2012

Bomb Scare Empties CBS Radio Los Angeles for More Than Two Hours.  The Wilshire Boulevard studios of CBS Radio’s Los Angeles stations, including all-news KNX and news/talk KFWB were evacuated from about 8:15 am to 10:45 am PT this morning after a promotional clock sent to the station raised suspicions, sent the staff into precautionary mode that brought police and medical personnel to the scene.  According to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan KNX and K-Earth simulcast sister all-news station in San Francisco, KCBS/740 AM.  The other stations switched to alternative programming from servers.  Shortly before the all-clear was given, KNX returned to the air full-time from emergency studios on the Paramount Studios lot.

WLS, Chicago’s Don Wade to Undergo Brain Surgery.  The morning duo of Don Wade and his wife Roma have been off the air at Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago for the past week and now Chicagoans know why.  The 71-year-old WLS AM drive host suffered a seizure on September 13 while in New York for his daughter’s wedding.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Wade will have the surgery to remove a growth from his brain during an operation scheduled for this Thursday and the duo will remain off the air for the next four to six weeks.  In the meantime, late-morning hosts Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft will sub on the morning show and Jake Hartford and John Kaas will host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program.

Northern California Hosts Armstrong & Getty Dive into Islam Controversy.  KSTE, Sacramento-based morning drive hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are putting out a call for not less but more criticism of Islam and the prophet Muhammad on the internet  — in a move that runs contrary to the wishes of the Obama Administration.  Jack Armstrong, responding to the riots and violence in the Muslim world in response to the short film titled, “Innocence of Muslims,” said on the program, “The only response to this is to flood YouTube and flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up.  In other words, free speech.”  He questions why the U.S. government is spending money airing ads with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton denouncing the video.  “I’m horribly disappointed that there are not thousands of Muhammad mocking videos out there on YouTube right now.”

Journal Broadcast Group Promotes Jeff Falconio to Full Time on WTMJ, Milwaukee.  Jeff Falconio has been hosting the “Wisconsin Sports Weekend” show on Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee.  Now, he’s upped to a full-time position with the station taking over for Trenni Kusnierek (who left for a TV gig at Comcast SportsNet Boston) beginning October 1.  Falconio will handle sports anchor duties on the PM drive show on WTMJ and co-host the evening “Sports Central” program with Greg Matzek.  In a statement, program director Joe Scialfa says, “We are excited to have Jeff join the sports department in a full-time capacity.  Jeff has been a regular fixture covering Wisconsin sports for 15 years.  His passion for sports and knowledge of our Wisconsin teams make him the perfect person to continue the strong WTMJ sports tradition.”

More Staff Layoffs at Merlin Media’s Chicago Offices.  According to a report in Chicagoland Radio and Media, Merlin Media let go of most of the rest of its off-air staff that had been working at WIQI “FM News 101.1” prior to its return to a music format in July.  The site reports writers, reporters and producers Brad Robinson, Safa Eshmawy, Sarah Engel, James Edwards, Michael Cronin, Megan Buckley, Shannon Beverly and Shannon Ward were all released from their positions on Friday, September 21.

WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Announces Weekend Program for Belinda Skelton.  The nationally syndicated Neal Boortz program – emanating from Cox Media’s news/talk giant WSB-AM/FM – is produced by Belinda Skelton (who calls it the “perfect job”).  Now Skelton will put her interest (and degree) in interior design and more into play as she hosts “Belinda Skelton’s Atlanta Lifestyles” beginning in January.  Cox Media Atlanta market manager Ben Reed defines the show: “Think of Pinterest, Martha Stewart or the Oprah brand where lifestyle can be defined by everything from food, wine and design to family, entertainment, and local events.”  On the new show, Skelton says, “I can’t think of something more perfect for me than this show.  This speaks to my core being and everything that excites me!”  Although Neal Boortz is retiring from full-time radio work in the new year, Skelton will remain his executive producer managing his daily commentary, appearances, and guest hosting duties.

Odds & Sods.  WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway fills in this Wednesday through Friday for Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..Talk radio pioneer Bruce Williams, who has been hosting a pre-produced program on the internet via his Made in America Broadcast Network, announces he’ll begin hosting live shows from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET starting tomorrow (9/26) and running for “a couple of weeks.”

NBC Radio’s “Miss Monitor” Dies at 89.  Dorothy Ruth “Tedi” Thurman passed away in Palm Springs, California at age 89 on Saturday, September 22.  Thurman was a model who came to fame as the sultry “Miss Monitor” on the old NBC Radio Network.  She held that position doing the weather from 1957 to 1961.  She also was featured as the weather girl on “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar beginning in 1957.

CNN Stevens Diary Controversy, Obama ‘View’ Appearance, Ahmadinejad Speaks at UN, and Presidential Polls Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24).  The controversy over CNN’s reporting from the journal of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens after telling his family it would wait for permission; President Obama’s planned appearance on ‘The View’; Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the United Nations; and the latest in presidential contest polls were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.