Mary Walter Joins WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s ‘Mornings On The Mall.’ Radio pro Mary Walter is named the co-host of the “Mornings On The Mall” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Walter is working with co-host Brian Wilson. She takes over for Larry O’Connor, who recently moved to the afternoon drive daypart. Walter was most recently with iHeartMedia’s WHAS, Louisville, hosting the evening program. She’s been a frequent guest host on WMAL in addition to guest host stints on FOX News Radio and SiriusXM’s The Patriot channel. WMAL program director Bill Hess comments, “Mary’s experience, energy, and familiarity to our audience made her the perfect addition to our team.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Midday Show. The new midday show at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee is being unveiled. The station moved Jeff Wagner to the late morning slot that opened up with the retirement of Charlie Sykes at the end of last year. Now, taking over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is the “Scaffidi & Bilstad” show with Steve Scaffidi (center) and executive producer Erik Bilstad (left). Scaffidi was most recently mayor of suburban Oak Creek and an account executive at the Leonard & Finco Public Relations firm. He’s resigned from both posts to join WTMJ. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “We’re pleased to welcome Steve to our team. He brings a great depth of knowledge and local connection to add to his take on the news of the day. Steve is a Wisconsin native, has a deep background and so much life experience, beyond broadcasting.” News anchor and reporter Colleen Boland (right) will man the newsroom during the program. The show debuts on February 28.
ABC News Radio Makes Staffing Changes; Gearing Towards Covering Breaking News. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS magazine that the news organization is making staffing changes that signal a shift from putting its primary resources into newscasts and focusing more intently on the coverage of breaking news, “reflecting immediacy and producing additional program content” for their approximately 1,575 affiliates. ABC News Radio says it has parted ways with a handful of employees but is in the process of hiring for a number of positions that will exceed those eliminated. Those include: Affiliate Solutions Manager, Associate Producer, Country Reporter/Producer, Urban Reporter/Producer, and WGA Newswriter/Producer. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS, “These changes allow ABC News Radio to provide more two-ways, breaking news and anchored coverage which have become more important to stations. It is never easy when fellow employees leave and we wish the very best to these colleagues. The media landscape is always evolving and it’s critical we’re meeting stations’ needs every step of the way.”
Erik Kuselias to Host Daily Talk Show on Genesis Communications Florida Talk Stations. Known primarily for his work in the sports media business, Erik Kuselias is expanding his reach in Florida by hosting a daily, two-hour talk show on Genesis Communications-owned news/talk outlets WWBA, Tampa and WIXC, Titusville (on the Space Coast). Kuselias – a former ESPN and NBC Sports personality – currently hosts a morning drive sports talk show on the company’s sports talk duo WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. He’s continuing in that role in addition to the new program that airs from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda states, “This is a natural progression for EK. We launched EK on the sports stations in both Tampa and Orlando last year. He is incredibly talented and will produce one of talk radio’s best programs. He will also continue to provide his brand of content on the company digital platforms, ‘News Talk Florida’ and ‘Sports Talk Florida.’”
Bubba the Love Sponge Files New Counterclaim Against Nielsen. The first time Bubba the Love Sponge filed a counterclaim against Nielsen, the court denied the motion ruling that it was difficult to discern the relevant facts due to the heavily redacted documents supplied by plaintiff Nielsen. That counterclaim included third parties Cox Media Group and CMG employee (and WHPT, Tampa personality) Mike Calta. But the denial was without prejudice, allowing Bubba’s lawyers to try again. And he has, this time leaving Cox and Calta out of the counterclaim. The counterclaim still alleges Nielsen entered into a conspiracy with Cox Media Group to get Bubba off the air in Tampa and interfere with his ability to do business with Beasley Media Group (owner of Tampa affiliate WBRN). The specific counterclaims are: Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships, Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Civil Conspiracy.
KFYO, Lubbock, Texas Names Dave King & Matt Martin Morning Hosts. Friday (2/17) was the last day for the “First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac” on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KFYO, Lubbock, Texas. Assuming the morning show role are Dave King (right) and Matt Martin (left). The station says, “Both Dave and Matt are easy going, view the world from a conservative viewpoint, and want to interact with KFYO listeners. King is owner of Dave King Advertising in Lubbock. Matt Martin is a realtor with The Wyatt Team at Keller Williams.
Neuhoff Ups Byerly to DOS and Associate GM for Decatur Station Group. Moving up from her general sales manager position at Neuhoff Communications’ Decatur, Illinois cluster is Kathy Byerly. She’s now director of sales and associate general manager for the group that includes news/talk WSOY, sports talk WDZ, hip hop WCZQ “HOT 105.5,” CHR WSOY-FM “Y103,” and country WDZQ “95Q.” Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey states, “Kathy is a wonderful success story. She has grown a career from the front desk to market leadership. You can’t get much better than that. The group of Decatur stations and digital products are not only the market leaders, they also have been recognized among the best in the industry. Kathy will help support those traditions while driving more business to our advertising partners.”
Hanging Out at the Club. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk host Michael Savage and his son, Rockstar energy drink founder Russ Weiner, crossed paths with President Donald Trump at the chief executive’s famous Palm Beach, Florida private club, Mar-a-Lago, this weekend. They were attending a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy when the president stopped by to say hello. Pictured (l-r): Ruddy, Trump, Savage, and Weiner.
Limbaugh-Touted Book Debuts at #6 on NYT Bestseller List. The latest book by conservative writer David Horowitz – Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America – debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list at #6 in the hardcover nonfiction books and e-book/hardcover nonfiction categories. Newsmax reports that the book was released the week of President Trump’s inauguration and is being praised by Rush Limbaugh, among other conservative media figures, for its predictions about Trump’s agenda. Horowitz is founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
New Trump Travel Order, McMaster Named National Security Advisor, Trump’s Sweden Comment, McCain vs Trump, UK’s Anti-Trump Debate, Uber Sexual Harassment Scandal, Yiannopoulos Controversies, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The Trump Administration issues new travel order exempting green card holders; President Donald Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster national security advisor; the controversy over Trump’s allusion to crime in Sweden and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s allegations that violent crime there has spiked due to immigrants; Republican Senator John McCain’s role as a major critic of Trump’s policies; the British House of Commons debates denying President Trump’s state visit; the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber’s corporate headquarters and the company’s hiring former AG Eric Holder to investigate; the controversies surrounding media figure Milo Yiannopoulos, including his being uninvited to CPAC and Simon and Schuster refusing to release his book; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix market broadcast legend Pat McMahon is being roasted on March 15 at local comedy club Stand Up Live in an event being organized by Bonneville news/talk outlet KTAR-FM. The “Tip of the Hat to Pat” roast is being hosted by KNIX personality Tim Hattrick and will feature rock legend Alice Cooper, as well as local celebrities Jude LaCava from Fox 10, John Holmberg from KUPD, authors Jana Bommersbach and Rita Davenport and former ADL director Bill Straus. McMahon says, “I’m feeling both honored and terrified at the prospect of this event. But you can be sure that I’ll be able to dish it out, just as well as I can take it.”…..New York Mets flagship station WOR, New York announces it will air play-by-play for 15 spring training games, beginning on February 24 when the Mets take on the Boston Red Sox…..The New York Times recently published a feature story about Premiere Networks host George Noory. In the piece, the “Coast to Coast AM” host discusses how “Coast to Coast AM” has evolved over the years, his open approach to stories and topics, and his relationship with his audience. Read the story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Atlanta cluster of Cox Media Group, Jaleigh Long is promoted to director of sales. She moves up from her general sales manager role. She’ll oversee the sales efforts for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM,” and country simulcast WNGC/WTSH “Your Georgia Country.”…..At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois “104.9 The X,” Zander – who’s been morning host and PD since joining the station in August of last year – moves to the afternoon drive slot. At the same time, Lori joins the station from crosstown competitor WKGL “96.7 The Eagle.”…..In the Lexington, Kentucky market, iHeartMedia drops sports talk on the simulcast of WWTF-AM and translator W239DJ at 97.7 FM and flips it to rock as “WTF 97.7 Lexington’s Rock Alternative.” Air personalities include Aly, Big Rig, Audrey, and Shroom…..Binnie Media says good bye to classic music on its WBQX, Thomaston, Maine and translator W245AA, Portland at 96.9 FM. WBQX takes on the classic hits format “FRANK FM” while the translator is simulcasting country station WTHT, Auburn “99.9 The Wolf.”
iHeartRadio Music Awards Announces Best New Artist Nominees. When the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards take place on Sunday, March 5 at the Forum in Los Angeles, one of the awards to be given will be the Best New Artist. The ultimate winner will be chosen by fans from all categories of popular music. The first step was naming the nominees in each category. Now, the finalists have been named. They are: Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist: The Strumbellas; Best New Country Artist: Kelsea Ballerini; Best New Hip-Hop Artist: Chance the Rapper; Best New Latin Artist: CNCO; Best New Regional Mexican Artist: Joss Favela; Best New Pop Artist: The Chainsmokers; and Best New R&B Artist: Bryson Tiller. The awards show will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET and simulcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as on iHeartRadio.
Bubba the Love Sponge Lands at WWBA, Tampa-St. Pete. The Genesis Communications-owned station WWBA-AM, Tampa-St. Petersburg “NewsTalk Florida” announces the Bubba the Love Sponge morning show will debut there on Monday (2/13). Bubba’s show most recently aired in the market on Beasley Media Group’s former rock station WBRN (now AC “B98.7”). The station says it will be the new flagship for the regionally syndicated program. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda says, “We are extremely excited to enter into a partnership with the Bubba the Love Sponge show. The show has an incredibly engaged audience across West Central Florida and we felt we could serve that audience exceptionally well with our distribution platform. We have assurances that Bubba will do his best to be a good boy while providing his unique brand of content.” Bubba Clem is currently in a legal battle with Nielsen Audio. The ratings giant is suing him claiming it suffered damages as the result of Clem’s attempts at manipulating the market’s PPM survey. Clem has filed countersuits.
Nielsen Reports 2016 Revenue Up 2.2%; Net Income Down 12.5%. Ratings giant Nielsen Holdings N.V. is releasing its financial numbers for the fourth quarter of 2016, and for the year as a whole. Nielsen reports 2016 Q4 revenue of $1.6 billion – an increase of 2% over the same period in 2015 – and revenue for all of 2016 topped $6.3 billion, up 2.2% over the year 2015. Net income for Q4 of 2016 was $160 million, down 45% from the same period in 2015. For all of 2016, net income was $507 million, down 12.5% compared to 2015. Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns states, “While 2016 was a challenging year, our results reflect the resiliency of our business. We remain focused on our key strategic initiatives and we continue to drive productivity and efficiency in our operations. In our Watch segment, our Total Audience Measurement initiative continued to excel, and we saw significant growth in adoption of its many components by both media buyers and sellers. With the approach of the 2017 Upfronts, our Total Audience system is ready to play a key role for our clients. In our Buy segment, emerging markets continued to deliver solid growth. In developed markets, especially the U.S., trends in the fast-moving consumer goods industry put pressure on our business. In response, we’ve accelerated investment in our Connected System initiative, designed to drive speed and efficiency for our clients. We expect this to lead to a stronger, higher-margin business for Nielsen over time.”
Chris Matthews to Emcee RTDNF First Amendment Awards. When the Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s 2017 First Amendment Awards Dinner gets underway at the Grand Hyatt in Washington on March 14, MSNBC host Chris Matthews will be serving as emcee for the program. RTDNF chair Kathy Walker says, “When it comes to American politics, Chris Matthews has seen it all and he’s done a remarkable job of explaining it all to a generation of viewers. We’re delighted to have him as our master of ceremonies as we honor champions of the First Amendment and support the work of our Foundation.” This year’s honorees include: Bill Whitaker, CBS News – Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award; Steve Jones, ABC News Radio – First Amendment Service Award; Stanley S. Hubbard, Hubbard Broadcasting – First Amendment Leadership Award; Mark Halperin/John Heilemann – First Amendment Award; and Nina Totenberg, NPR – RTDNF Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jeff Sessions AG Confirmation/Sen. Warren Silenced, Trump Travel Ban Battle, Gorsuch on Trump Judge Comments, Yemen Raid Criticism, U.S.-Iran Tensions, Trump Nordstrom Criticism, and Christie Brinkley SI Cover Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). The confirmation hearings for attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions and the related rebuking of Senator Elizabeth Warren for violating senate rules against impugning a fellow senator; the court and public opinion battle over President Donald Trump’s order restricting travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations; Supreme Court justice nominee Neil Gorsuch’s comments about Trump’s attack on Judge James Robart; the political and military fallout from the recent U.S. raid on Islamic State targets in Yemen; Iran’s latest missile test, the U.S.’ putting Iran “on notice,” and the possibility of designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization; Trump’s public criticism of Nordstrom for severing its ties with Ivanka Trump’s lines; and chatter about 63-year-old Christy Brinkley’s posing with her daughters in the new SI swimsuit edition, were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Houston Talk Host Matt Patrick In Remission and Winning His Fight Against Cancer. “News Radio 740” KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Matt Patrick continues to show his determination to beat cancer, with 2017 off to a strong start. Patrick recently shared with his “Houston’s Morning News” audience and his syndicated afternoon program audience (KPRC, Houston and KFXR, Dallas/Ft. Worth) that the latest test results have shown that he is now in remission with no detectable cancer. In September 2015, Patrick announced that he was receiving treatment for metastatic melanoma at the world-renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The 37-year radio pro underwent brain surgery in late 2015, followed by multiple rounds of chemo, immunotherapy, and radiation in 2016. Patrick has continued to work while undergoing additional treatments, including making his regular television appearances on Houston’s “FOX 26 News,” covering the 2016 GOP National Convention from Cleveland for iHeartMedia, and making public appearances delivering his “Overcoming Obstacles in Life” presentation.
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Radio Night Live” show with host Kevin McCullough – a radio-television “supercast” – picks up new radio affiliates KKFT, Reno and legendary Atlantic City signal WWPG-AM (plus its FM simulcast on 104.9). New TV affiliates include: WLLC-TV, Nashville; Adjuntas (Puerto Rico), KMRF, Reno; KPVT-TV, and Las Vegas…..SiriusXM is bringing actress, model, and best-selling author Brooke Shields aboard to host a new, weekly one-hour talk show on its Stars channel for a limited-run series. The “Brooke Shields Now” show will feature “inspiring, passionate conversations between Brooke, experts and celebrity guests as they discuss topics and issues ranging from parenting and relationships to fashion, the arts and more.” Guests already booked include: InStyle editor-in-chief Laura Brown and “TODAY” show hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.
The Dana Show Invades the Skype Studio in Portland. The Radio America-syndicated program “The Dana Show” is pictured above during last Friday’s broadcast from Alpha Media’s Skype Live Studio in Portland. Dana Loesch’s show is heard on the company’s news/talk stations KXL-FM and KUFO and her appearance at the Portland affiliates included a meet-and-greet with listeners. Pictured above with Loesch (right) is Todd Hoffman (left), star of Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At New York country outlet WNSH “NASH FM 94.7,” Cumulus Media promotes Katie Neal to middays. She’s been with the station for the past four years serving as a weekend/swing talent (she also was an AE for sister hot AC WPLJ). She first joined Cumulus in Bloomington, Illinois as evening host at CHR WBNQ. WNSH program director John Foxx comments, “Katie’s skill set, love for country music, passion for this city and understanding of the ‘NASH FM 94.7’ brand create the perfect alignment. There’s a lot of creativity in Katie’s execution. The investment that Katie has made in this product and in the relationships she has built on the dial, digital and social spaces have been explosive!”…..With the recent exit of afternoon personality and APD Todd Michaels, Beasley Media Group country outlet KCYE, Las Vegas “102.7 The Coyote” makes some changes. First, morning personality Kris Daniels again takes up the program director duties – a position she asked to relinquish back in July of last year in order to focus on her morning show. She will remain co-host of the “Kris & Mad Dog” morning show. Daniels says, “Now that I have a seasoned, experienced support team around me, I am excited and rejuvenated about the opportunity to lead the ‘Coyote!’” The station welcomes 13-year market pro Emmanuel “Ransom” Garcia as afternoon personality and music director. Daniels says, “Ransom Garcia’s music scheduling and social media skills are incredible and he will be enormously helpful!” Also joining the “Coyote” is Paul Knight, who returns to the station to host the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart. Knight recently took an 18-month break from radio. He says, “‘The Coyote’ is in my blood! I miss the energy, listener interaction, events, and concerts. Let’s face it, I wanted to come home and be a part of my ‘102.7 Coyote’ family.”…..Cumulus Media Nashville announces that Sunday “Gospel Diva” program host Connie Denell is leaving urban contemporary WQQK “92Q” at the end of this year after three decades on the air. Denell has been with WQQK since 1983 and has been hosting her “Gospel Diva” program since 1987. She has won numerous awards for her community efforts including a Stella Award and an NAACP Award…..At the Sunrise Broadcasting station group in Wilmington, North Carolina, Max Miller moves from nights at CHR WAZO “Z107.5” to sister alternative WRMR “Modern Rock 98.7” to host the “Max in the Morning Show.” Miller fills the daypart vacated by Vaughn, a.k.a. Zach McHugh, who exited last September to join Entercom’s WSFS, Miami “104.3 The Shark.”…..Westwood One says it will be a “red, white, and blue celebration” when the syndicator’s “Red Eye Radio” lobby booth once again becomes the premier celebrity rendezvous spot at the March 23-25 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. WW1 says “This year’s star-studded event features live appearances and musical performances from country artists Lee ‘God Bless the USA’ Greenwood, Shane Owens, Jayne Denham, Tony Justice and a celebrity appearance by Edgar Hansen from “Deadliest Catch.” “Red Eye Radio” host Eric Harley will be on site at the convention that draws some 70,000 attendees to introduce the lineup of country music artists.
Profile: FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd. Seventeen months into his deal with FOX Sports – one that puts him on television, in national radio syndication and makes him part-owner of his own content – Colin Cowherd speaks with TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian in a profile published today (2/3). Cowherd tells Kinosian that the change from ESPN to FOX Sports was moving from “one great company to another.” But he’s happier with the vibe at FOX. “The reality is that radio should be more dangerous. It is unedited, ad-libbed, and free-form. There’s a little stand-up, a little ranting, a little painting and you are going to spill a little on the canvas. I think my personality fits the FOX ecosystem a little better than the current ESPN ecosystem, which has gotten much more politically correct in the last several years.” Read the whole piece here.
Beasley to Unload Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina Cluster for $11 Million. The buyer is CMG Coastal Carolina and Beasley Media Group says it will use the cash to pay down debt. The stations affected are: blues WNCT-AM, Greenville; classic hits WNCT-FM, Greenville; classic rock WSFL-FM, New Bern; hip hop WIKS-FM, New Bern; adult contemporary WMGV-FM, Newport; and rock WXNR-FM, Grifton. CMG Coastal Carolina, which is affiliated with Curtis Media Group, intends to spin off WNCT-FM to Inner Banks Media, LLC. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “Since the Company’s founding in 1961, Beasley has established a long-term record of successfully optimizing its station portfolio through both strategic acquisitions and divestitures to drive returns for our shareholders. Last November we completed the accretive acquisition of Greater Media, adding 17 stations (net of divestitures) and four attractive new markets to our operating footprint. We are making continued progress with the integration of the new stations as we apply our proven strategies that focus on strong core programming and targeted localism to support ratings and market leadership. We are confident that the stations being divested will continue to offer listeners in Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville great local programming.”
2016 Banner Year for SiriusXM. The financial figures from the fourth quarter of 2016 and the entire year are being reported and SiriusXM says it beat its guidance “on all metrics.” The satcaster’s net income for the fourth quarter of 2016 was $205 million – up 52% from the same period in 2015. For the year, net income was $746 million – up 46% from 2015. As for its subscriber numbers, SiriusXM reports a net subscriber growth of 1.75 million for the year. It now reports more than 31 million subscribers with nearly 26 million self-paying subscribers. CEO Jim Meyer comments, “Last year was a phenomenal year for SiriusXM’s business, and we expect continued success in 2017. We finished ahead of our guidance across the board, with record revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow. With more than 31 million subscribers, SiriusXM has never had more paying customers. We’ve issued guidance for continued growth in 2017, and we expect a record adjusted EBITDA of more than $2 billion.”
Michael Harrison Says a New Golden Age of News/Talk Radio is at Hand – IF Broadcasters Rise to the Challenge. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison addressed this month’s meeting of the magazine’s editorial board with optimistic observations about the news/talk format’s future as the world enters the Donald Trump era. But he also pointed out that the format’s inherent multi-genre potential can only be reached if broadcasters have the vision and courage to significantly alter the current paradigm and “take advantage of the political passions that have engulfed a wide swath of the American population, way beyond the traditional conservative core audience.” Harrison was clear that he thinks traditional conservative news/talk radio is here to stay although “enthusiasm for Trump has bent some of the tried-and-true guidelines that provided a dependable ideological template for hosts connecting with their audiences way beyond what were once considered to be their breaking points.” Harrison explains, “Conservative listeners will remain extremely loyal to their brand of talk radio because they fear opposition to Trump will water down the changes he promised to bring America in ‘making it great again,’ adding, “There is indeed room within conservative talk radio for hosts to be critical of Trump on occasions that warrant nuanced alternative perspectives… but then again, that has always been the case. Conservative news/talk has never been as monolithic as its political critics have implied.” However, it is the new potential of progressive talk radio or as Harrison puts it, “resistance talk” that is truly exciting in expanding the boundaries of spoken word strategies on the commercial radio dial. “Intense, passionate and obsessive opposition to Trump has galvanized and ignited a hitherto non-focused target audience for news/talk hosts, programs and stations,” states Harrison. “The door is open for performers such as Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller, Joe Madison, Alan Colmes and countless others of the progressive perspective to tap into a potentially vast audience of listeners who, since the election of Trump, deeply care about their message – as long as these messengers are talented by radio standards. The Trump era offers the talk radio industry the opportunity to double its reach by providing a platform for both the ‘revolution’ (Trump) and the ‘resistance’ (anti-Trump) passions that are clearly exploding in the American marketplace of ideas. Both sides feel embattled.” Harrison adds, “If radio misses this opportunity, it would be the equivalent of missing the British Invasion of the sixties, the disco craze of the late seventies, and the rise of conservatism in the nineties.”
Trump Travel Order/Protests Top Talk Story for Week of Jan. 30-Feb. 3. The travel order banning people coming into the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim nations and the protests over the presidential order was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Coming in at #3 was the violent protests at UC-Berkeley over the planned speech by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, followed by the U.S. putting Iran “on notice” over its test of a missile at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Rick Thomas to Oversee Operations at CMG Tampa. Most recently with CBS Radio’s CHR WBMP, New York “92.3 AMP Radio” as program director, Rick Thomas heads south to Tampa to serve as operations manager for Cox Media Group’s six-station cluster there and to program CHR WPOI “HOT 101.5.” Thomas will oversee operations for adult contemporary WWRM “Magic 94.9,” alternative WSUN-FM “97X,” hot talk WPHT “102.5 The Bone,” adult contemporary WDUV “105.5 The Dove,” and classic hits “107.3 The Eagle,” plus all digital content. CMG Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless says, “CMG is very fortunate to have Rick join our Tampa team. Rick is a successful and innovative leader in our business with an exceptional track record. I’m proud to partner with Rick and I have no doubt that his contributions will help Tampa compete and win, even more.”
TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher (pictured here) poses for a photo with a young Guatemalan girl during his trip to the Central American Nation. The Salem Radio Network personality is there this week with fellow SRN hosts Larry Elder and Mark Davis in the company of international relief agency Food For The Poor…..New Yorkers won’t have to miss the sound of Mike Francesa’s voice when the WFAN afternoon personality finishes his contract with the CBS Radio sports talk station at the end of this year. The “Pope” told former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, on the latter’s SiriusXM program, that he’ll be doing something on January 3, 2018. “I’m not promising it’ll be conventional. It’s something new,” he said. Read the New York Post’s take on it here.
Longtime ABC News Radio Staffer Bob Benson Passes. News radio pro Bob Benson passed away on Sunday (1/29) after a four-decade career in radio. Benson started in radio while still in high school. In 1966 he joined ABC as news director at WLS, Chicago, then moved to the company’s KGO, San Francisco. In 1974, Benson launched AP Radio in Washington. He returned to ABC as vice president of ABC News, managing the news and sports for the radio networks.
Is It Possible to Teach Media and Politics in Today’s Environment without Expressing (or Being Accused of) Expressing a Significant Degree of Bias? This is just one of several key questions that are explored in an extremely candid conversation between TALKERS founder Michael Harrison and veteran talk radio programmer David Bernstein posted today (1/31) on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Bernstein’s stellar career in radio includes stints as program director of such politically diverse powerhouses as WTIC in Hartford, WPRO in Providence, WRKO and WBZ in Boston, and a 10 year run at WOR in New York. He even served for a brief period as VP/programming at Air America. Today, he is the general manager of the experimental “workshop” platform TalkersRadio and going into his second full year as an adjunct professor of media studies at Caldwell University in New Jersey. Harrison and Bernstein explore the characteristics, habits and challenges facing Millennials with a focus on those considering careers in the media. The discussion includes an analysis of the public’s across the board obsession with politics inspired by the rise of Donald Trump permeating all aspects of daily American life. Don’t miss this one! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Zannie K. Named PM Drive Host at ‘105 The Vibe’ in Twin Cities. In the Minneapolis market, Cumulus Media announces that on-air pro Zannie K. is the new afternoon personality and assistant program director at classic hip hop outlet WGVX “105 The Vibe.” He also hosts the weekend “Zannie K’s Throwback Theory” Saturday nights at 10:00 pm. Additionally, he’s going to host the Sunday midday show for Westwood One’s 24/7 AC, hot AC and CHR affiliates. Cumulus Media Minneapolis OM (and corporate VP of classic rock) Scott Jameson comments, “We’ve seen consistent growth with ‘The Vibe,’ and adding Zannie to afternoon drive will no doubt sustain the positive momentum for our listeners and advertisers.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On Monday (2/6), married morning show personalities “Chadd & Kristi” (at right) debut their program on Beasley Media Group’s newly launched adult contemporary WBRN “B98.7.” The station was formerly a rock outlet and the Tampa affiliate of the Bubba the Love Sponge show, but Beasley flipped it to AC on January 5…..Country superstar Luke Bryan chatted with Westwood One Sports NFL host Scott Graham on Thursday (2/2). Bryan appeared as part of Westwood One’s nightly “The Road to Super Bowl LI” broadcast that aired live. On Sunday, Bryan will sing the national anthem before the Super Bowl LI broadcast…..Townsquare Media launches the new KAMM, Missoula, Montana as an alternative rock outlet branded “ALT 101.5.” The brand manager for the new station is Angel Hughes, who will also serve as the station’s morning personality…..Rock radio jock Spam joins Sun Broadcasting’s alternative WXNX, Fort Myers “93X” as host of the morning show. Spam comes to Sun from his most recent gig at Entercom’s cross-state alternative rocker WSFS, Miami “104.3 The Shark.” Spam was a longtime personality at CBS Radio’s WHFS, Baltimore/Washington…..In Reading, Pennsylvania, Jimmy Steele exits iHeartMedia’s hot AC WRFY and Spanish AC WRAW after a restructuring of the cluster’s staff.
CBS RADIO Re-Ups KYW, Philly’s Steve Butler. Programmer Steve Butler signs a multi-year contract renewal with CBS RADIO in which he’ll continue to serve as vice president of news programming, and program director of all-news KYW. In his capacity as vice president of news programming and news format captain, Butler advises eight of CBS RADIO’s all-news outlets on on-air and digital content and strategy. In his KYW Newsradio role, he oversees the station’s production and content, as well as the on-air and newsroom staffs. CBS RADIO EVP of programming Chris Oliviero comments, “CBS RADIO continues to be the industry leader in providing many of the nation’s largest cities with the trusted and credible local news and information that millions of listeners depend on day in and day out. Steve’s expertise and influence has helped shape the ongoing success of our iconic, eight all-news stations and will be critical in the continued growth of these brands for years to come. We are thrilled to have him lead in this important position.”
Cumulus Names Tim Shickles to PD Role at Sports WTRX, Flint. At the Cumulus Media operations in Flint, Michigan, the company names August Wallace operations manager for the entire cluster. At the same time, Tim Shickles is promoted to program director for sports talk WTRX “Sports Xtra 1330.” Shickles is also now programming sister country station WFBE “NASH 95.1.” Shickles has been an on-air personality for Cumulus Media Flint for the past seven years and will continue in his on-air role with WFBE. Ed Leick, vice president/market manager Cumulus Media Flint, says, “Cumulus is fortunate to have such incredible talents working in our radio stations across the country and right here in Flint, Michigan. It is my great pleasure to assist in moving these two fine broadcasters to the next level in their careers.”
Remembering Kay Zwerling. One of talk radio’s original partisans and supporters has passed away at the age of 95. For approximately 20 years, Kay Zwerling became a familiar central California on-air talent via Zwerling Broadcasting System talker KSCO, Santa Cruz-Monterey- Salinas, where she would write/voice commentaries on a variety of topics, especially politics and current events. Those short-form features were broadcast several times throughout the day. A compilation of those commentaries was incorporated into a hardcover book, “For KSCO, I’m Kay Zwerling.” She and her husband Bernard encouraged and supported their son Michael’s acquisition of Class B AM KSCO in January 1991. Nearly 18 months ago, KSCO added a 255-watt simulcast on K218CA (104.1). Commenting on his mother, Michael Zwerling states, “She had a fine mind, a great, clear speaking voice, and a special flair to be direct, logical, and concise with her thoughts. Over the years, I had the pleasure to see mom evolve and grow into a most popular and certainly the most admired personality on our family-owned, independent news-talk radio station.” According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Kay Zwerling was the matriarch of a great radio broadcasting family that has made a real difference in the lives of the people of the Monterey Bay region for many decades. She was a savvy business person, locally-renowned author, and articulate on-air commentator. She should also be historically noted as an influential pioneer in advancing the position of women in the radio industry.” Listeners shared their thoughts and memories of Zwerling this past Saturday (1/7) in a two-hour KSCO special (10:00 am – 12:00 noon). Arrangements are pending for a family-only funeral for Kay Zwerling; a public celebration of her life will take place in the spring.
Today on TalkersTV: Consultant Holland Cooke presents a useful New Year’s Resolution – say more with fewer words. He says, “Life has become a wall of noise. In his latest TalkersTV video, he explains that “the best way to cut through the clutter is ‘word economy.’” Viewer warning: HC is a former high school English teacher. See the video in the TalkersTV box in the upper right-hand of this page.
Beasley’s Charlotte Deal Closes. The $24 million radio station deal that transferred ownership of news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM and hot AC WLNK-FM from Beasley Media Group to Entercom has closed. If you remember, Beasley had to divest of some stations in Charlotte after the $240 million acquisition of Greater Media that closed at the end of last year.
The Yappy Tour Rolls Through Providence, RI. The recently published book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016), by veteran talk radio producer Bernadette Duncan, continues to burn up the airwaves. The coast-to-coast book tour rolled through Providence, Rhode Island Friday (1/6) as the author was interviewed by the legendary talk radio personality Dan Yorke for both his local radio (WPRO) and television (Fox 12 and MyRI-TV) shows. (The two are pictured above on the set of the TV show.) Duncan tells TALKERS, “Dan Yorke is an amazing interviewer. He really cuts below the surface and gets to the psychological heart of the topic in an intimate and credible manner. Being on the airwaves of WPRO, which is so richly steeped in radio heritage, was deeply gratifying to me. I am so grateful to the hundreds of broadcasters and thousands of radio enthusiasts who have been giving this book such wonderful support.” Yappy Days recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the Spring of 2017. Duncan has already appeared on more than 50 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Odds & Sods. On its recently acquired St. Louis AM signal KXFN, Salem Media Group debuts a station dedicated to health and wellness branded, “AM 1380 The Pulse.” The former sports talk station was purchased by Salem from Grand Slam Sports LLC’s receiver Detalus for $190,000. Shows airing on the station include “Dr. Asa on Call,” “Dr. Katherine Albrecht,” “The Dr. Daliah Show,” “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie,” and others…..At the Chicago operations of Salem Media Group, Michael Mann adds new duties as his title is expanded to director of sales strategy, broadcast media. Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella comments, “There has been a planned and deliberate ‘march’ since Michael joined us in Chicago which has resulted in consistent and impressive growth.”…..Tomorrow (1/10), Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is joining the “WTMJ Today” early afternoon program for an hour-long segment in which listeners will hear the mayor discuss the news of the day and issues important to him and the community. “WTMJ Today” is co-hosted by WTMJ executive producer for news Erik Bilstad and interim co-hosts including the representative for Wisconsin’s 37th Assembly District, John Jagler.
Deadly Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting, Trump-Intelligence Community Meeting/Russia Hacking Allegations, Future of ObamaCare, Deadly Attack on Israeli Soldiers, Iran’s Rafsanjani Dies, Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards, and NFL Playoff Action Among Top Stories Over the Weekend. The fatal shooting of five travelers at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport; the allegations of Russian hacking of DNC emails and the related story of President-Elect Donald Trump’s contentious relationship with the intelligence community over the matter; the future of the Affordable Care Act and the GOP’s plans to alter the health care legislation; the deaths of four Israeli soldiers in an attack by a Palestinian; the passing of key Iranian Islamic Revolution architect Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; Sunday evening’s Golden Globes Awards; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Harrison Podcast Explores “The Real History of Fake News.” The award-winning, weekly PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” kicks off 2017 with an engaging discussion about fake news with Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) staff writer and senior Delacorte fellow, David Uberti. Uberti recently penned an article in CJR titled, The Real History of Fake News. It traces the long-standing practice of newspapers in America publishing hoaxes, falsehoods and blatantly slanted stories to manipulate public opinion all the way back to the founding of the republic. The fake news phenomenon, now greatly amplified and accelerated by social media and digital technology, was one of the most-discussed issues on news/talk radio this past year and promises to continue to be an area of concern moving forward. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
AJ Lurie Named to Market Manager Role at Beasley Wilmington. Now leading the Wilmington, Delaware duo for Beasley Media Group is AJ Lurie, who is promoted from his most recent position with the company’s Fort Myers-Naples cluster as director of sales. As vice president and market manager, Lurie will oversee the operations of hot AC WJBR and gospel WTMR-AM (licensed to Camden, New Jersey). About his new position, Lurie comments, “I am honored to begin working with the talented team in Wilmington. I have had the privilege of serving for more than a decade with our amazing Fort Myers cluster, which has prepared me for this next step in my career. I want to sincerely thank Bruce Beasley, Brad Beasley and everyone who showed faith in my abilities to move into this market manager position.”
Tim Hattrick Returns to KNIX, Phoenix. The iHeartMedia-owned country station announces that former station personality Tim Hattrick will join its morning show alongside Ben Campbell and Brooke Hoover for the “Tim, Ben & Brooke Show.” Hattrick served with the station as half of the “Tim & Willy Show” with Willy D. Loon from 1998 through 2007. He says, “I’m thrilled to join Ben and Brooke and so honored to come home to KNIX. I look forward to serving Phoenix again and continuing to build upon the legacy that KNIX has built in the community.”
Marc Jason Joins WQYK, Tampa Morning Show. Tampa country outlet WQYK announces air personality Marc Jason joins Veronica Young and Kevin Ebel as the third co-host of the Beasley Broadcast Group station’s morning show. Operations manager Tee Gentry comments, “It’s a great feeling to start this new year with Marc on the ‘QYK morning team with Veronica and Kevin! Marc has been an on-air radio personality in some of America’s biggest and most iconic radio cities, including Nashville, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Washington, DC. We’re definitely hitting the ground running in 2017!”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Changes corporate structure at Cox Media Group mean corporate manager of radio and ratings research Paul Douglas exits the company after a 19 year stint…..Entercom brings Casey Osburn aboard to program hot AC KFBZ, Wichita “105.3 The Buzz.” Osburn, who will also work the afternoon drive shift at KFBZ, was most recently with Eagle Communications at its Hutchinson, Kansas operations…..CBS RADIO St. Louis announces that KEZK ,midday personality Trish Gazall signs a multi-year contract extension with the adult contemporary station. Gazall holds down the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm show that features her unique perspective on entertainment and current events, with a healthy dose of local community information. She also hosts the “Totally ‘80s Lunch” every weekday at noon…..iHeartMedia renews the contracts for the three hosts of the “Bama, Rob and Heather” morning show on country KVET, Austin. iHeartMedia Central Texas region president Breeanna Malik says of the trio, “We are so fortunate to have this amazing team in the iHeartMedia family. They are true Austin celebrities and we know our listeners and sponsors are ecstatic that they will be here for many years to come.”…..United Stations Radio Networks announces that programmer and on-air pro Steve Stewart is the new host of the syndicated country radio show “The Road.” Stewart also serves as PD and midday personality at iHeartMedia’s WEBG, Chicago “Big 95.5.”…..Adult contemporary WHUD-FM, Peekskill, New York (Hudson Valley market) adds the local “Night Rhythms” program hosted by Susan Browning for the evening daypart. Browning has been with the 6 Johnson Road Licenses-owned station on a weekends/fill-in basis for the past six years.
AC Augments Audience in Philly, Tampa, and Dallas. Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes note of the number of new adult contemporary stations signing on in top 20 markets. “The last time a major market station transitioned to adult contemporary was in April 2016, when iHeartMedia San Francisco’s urban-rhythmic oldies KISQ became “The Breeze.” Now that the all-Christmas music has come to an end, however, there are three new players under the AC banner.” He’s referring to “Star 102.1” in Dallas; “Today’s 96.5” in Philly; and “B 98.7” in Tampa. Read his report on these new stations here.
Attention is currency. So short sentences rock. And sentence fragments. See?
On a normal day in Las Vegas (oxymoron), it’s already a wall of enticements:
- “100X odds craps!”
- A rib joint touts “The Best Rack on The Strip!”
- Guy Fieri’s restaurant serves up “In Your Face Food & Booze.”
- “Fire a Machine Gun!”
- “Girls! Girls! Girls!”
Now, fly-in 165,000 of us, for-whose-attention 20,000 new products compete, and you’re in the graduate school of messaging. Yours will drown in the din unless it’s “SQUIRREL!”
Radio has never had more competition for listeners’ attention, and advertisers’ do-re-mi.
So, as I navigate a Las Vegas Convention Center the size of FIFTY football fields, I am struck by how well exhibitors distill their messages, something radio hosts and commercial and promo copy should strive to do.
- BACtrack is “The World’s First Wearable Alcohol Monitor.”
- Mevo, The Live Event Camera, enables you to “Edit on the fly. Stream live or share later.”
- ThinOptics assures that you will “never be without your reading glasses again.” Their “stick anywhere, go everywhere” sleeve adheres to the back of your smartphone.
- Rem-Fit’s Zeeq Smart Pillow “Streams Music, Stops Snoring, Analyzes Sleep.”
- You’re “always connected, never apart” with Petcube’s “interactive cameras bringing pets and people closer than ever.”
- Tablo is “The DVR for Cord Cutters.”
- Assure Lock by Yale lets you “Lose your keys for good;” and “Answer your door. Anywhere. Anytime.”
- MightyPURSE “charges your phone.”
- Without a live demonstration in the booth, we’ll take Willow’s word that their “wearable breast pump” has “no external tubes, cords, or dangling bottles.”
Get the picture? Yes, we see.
“Make America Great Again.”
We just elected a most unlikely president whose gift of brevity plays Twitter like a Stradivarius. “Drain the swamp,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Jeb Bush is weak,” “Little Marco,” “Build a wall, and Mexico will pay for it,” and other bumpersticker-length catch-phrases were utterly digestible. Is your message?
Holland Cooke (www.HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet, and he covers industry conferences for Talkers. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke; and look for his new TalkersTV video “Choose Your Words Carefully” next week at Talkers.com
SiriusXM Ends 2016 with More Than 31.3 Million Subscribers. Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM will release its 2016 fourth quarter financials early next month, but it announced yesterday that it beat its guidance on net subscriber additions by adding more than 1.7 million during the year to pass the 31.3 million mark. It also says it expects to meet or exceed its 2016 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow. CEO Jim Meyer comments, “We continue to make substantial investments in new products, content and technologies, including investments in new satellites, our next-generation 360L platform, wideband chipsets, and new marketing capabilities. In 2017, we expect to continue our never-ending focus on bringing our customers the best content bundle available, and our strong record of delivering cost-effective growth and returning substantial capital to stockholders through stock buybacks and our recently introduced dividend.” SiriusXM also issued 2017 guidance for self-pay net subscriber additions (1.3 million), revenue ($5.3 billion), adjusted EBITDA ($2.025 billion) and free cash flow ($1.5 billion).
PodcastOne Debuts Laila Ali Show. Women’s boxing champ Laila Ali is launching a new show called “Laila Ali Lifestyle” on the PodcastOne platform. The daughter of the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali joins the Norm Pattiz-founded entertainment company to offer a show in which fans can join Ali “on her journey to holistic greatness, as she balances mind, body and soul, and shares her passion for helping people achieve their personal best in every aspect of life.” She will invite guests to appear each week, with new episodes every Thursday. Pattiz comments, “We’re happy to have someone of Laila’s esteem, experience and class on our network. She’s a legend in her own right, and it will be great for fans to see a different side of her through the podcast.”
Chris Mack to Host Pirates Pre-and Post-Game Shows. At CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh sports talker KDKA-FM “Sports Radio 93-7 The Fan,” station personality Chris Mack will begin hosting the pre and post-game shows for Pittsburgh Pirates baseball beginning in the spring. Mack currently hosts the station’s weekly “Bucco Talk” program in addition to a number of shows. Jack Zduriencik, a former Pirates director of scouting and former Seattle Mariners general manager will work alongside Mack during the shows. ‘Fan’ program director Jim Graci comments, “Chris is a seasoned talk show host and well versed in the Pittsburgh sports scene. Elevating him to host our pre- and post-Pirates game broadcasts was a natural progression for him, ‘The Fan’ and our scores of loyal listeners. We’re excited to have Chris take on this expanded role and look forward to his color commentary and analysis this spring.”
Russian Hacking Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 2-6. The debate in Washington over whether Vladimir Putin’s Russia is responsible for hacking the DNC’s email was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Obama’s lame duck actions. Coming in at #3 was the GOP’s strategy to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, followed by the Chicago Facebook torture case at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley’s WBRN, Tampa Goes AC; Chadd & Kristi Thomas Named Morning Hosts. The former “Bubba Radio Network”-branded rock station ditched that moniker last year and transitioned to the “No Rules Rock!” brand. Then, late last year, Beasley Media Group dropped the Bubba the Love Sponge show in anticipation of a format change. Yesterday, the company unveiled the new adult contemporary format for WBRN and its new brand “The New B98.7.” After a 10,000 songs-in-a-row launch, the station will feature Chadd and Kristi Thomas as its morning team, beginning Monday, February 6. The duo is well known in the market after years on Cox Media Group’s crosstown AC WWRM “Magic 94.9.” Kristi Thomas says, “Chadd and I are absolutely delighted to be part of creating a new radio station! We are excited about our new home for our special brand of radio in Tampa Bay, which is a place we cherish and where we have chosen to raise our family!” Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase adds, “For nearly two decades, Chadd & Kristi have developed a deep relationship with the Tampa listening audience and we are thrilled they decided to join us in the process of building a new and great AC brand in the market.”
Johnnie D. Upped to PD of WGCI, Chicago. In Chicago, iHeartMedia promotes WGCI and WVAZ assistant program director Johnnie D. to program director for WGCI. iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown says, “Johnnie has made a significant impact since joining WGCI in 2015. His passion and vision for our brand has enhanced our signature concert events like Big Jam and Summer Jam, plus his work in helping launch the city’s only live-and-local urban morning show has made the ‘Chicago Morning Takeover’ a dominant force in the market. It’s a pleasure to recognize Johnnie’s hard work with this promotion and it certainly comes with great expectations as he manages all facets of the 107.5 WGCI-FM brand.”
Radio One Jumps on CHR Opportunity in Houston. With CBS RADIO’s move away from CHR on KKHH to adult hits, Radio One’s only other CHR competition for KROI “92.1 RADIO NOW” will be Cumulus Media’s KRBE. A format change for KROI was not unexpected after Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins recently commented that classic hip hop and R&B is not a “sustainable format.” The station is being programmed by cluster operations manager Terri Thomas, who says, “The ‘New 92.1 Radio Now’ will reflect emerging music, trends and culture for the NOW generation of 18-34 year old millennials here in Houston.” Radio One senior vice president of programming Jay Stevens adds, “We’re excited about this opportunity to bring a fresh innovative approach to top 40 radio in H-Town.”
KBAY, San Jose Names Bruce Scott Morning Host. Former KOST, Los Angeles personality Bruce Scott joins Alpha Media as morning drive host for classic hits KBAY, San Jose, effective January 17. Alpha Media VP of programming and “Bay FM” program director Ronnie Stanton states, “It’s very exciting to add Bruce to the refreshed sound of ‘Bay FM.’ He brings years of experience and a great radio brain to create an upbeat and fun morning show with the greatest hits of all time for the Bay Area.”
‘Format Adjustment’ Pushes Bubba the Love Sponge from Beasley’s WBRN, Tampa. There’s not a lot to go on from the press release from Beasley Media Group issued this morning. It simply says that, due to a “format adjustment” on rock/talk hybrid WBRN, Tampa “No Rules Rock,” the Bubba the Love Sponge show is no longer being carried by Beasley in the Tampa market. As for Fort Myers, Beasley says, “Beasley looks forward to continuing its relationship with Bubba and The Bubba the Love Sponge show on WRXK, Ft. Myers ’96K-ROCK.’” WBRN is currently airing Christmas music with a new format to launch on 12/26. The signal was formerly WHFS-FM and aired a sports talk format when CBS RADIO owned it. After Beasley’s acquisition of the signal, the station became WBRN – “Bubba Radio Network” – in February of 2015 airing a hybrid of Bubba’s show and hard rock. Later in 2015, the station rebranded as “No Rules Rock” after Bubba was found to have been involved in a PPM survey tampering incident.
iHeartMedia Programmer Chris Kampmeier to Retire; Rick Everett Named New RVP of Programming. Regional vice president of programming Chris Kampmeier is retiring from iHeartMedia’s North Florida Region at the end of the year and rock WJRR and sports talk WYGM-AM, Orlando PD Rick Everett will assume the RVP role. In addition to WJRR and WYGM, iHeartMedia also operates talk WTKS “Real Radio 104.1,” CHR WXXL “XL 106.7,” Spanish music WRUM “Rumba 100.3,” news/talk WFLF, hip hop WTKS-HD “104.5 The Beat,” and adult contemporary WMGF “Magic 107.7.” Speaking about his retirement, Kampmeier says, “Going out on my own terms and on top is a good thing! My partnership with our amazing executive team has been deeply satisfying and I am grateful for their support over the years. My biggest honor has been to serve alongside the programmers and air talent and the wondrous creativity they bring every day. I am proud to have been a radio man for the last 47 years and am excited for the long term future of our industry.” Rick Everett says he’s grateful for this new opportunity. “I want to thank [North Florida Region president] Linda Byrd and [EVP of programming] Gene Romano for this incredible opportunity and I’m especially grateful to Chris for his mentorship over the last 19 years, which helped make this opportunity possible. I look forward to working with the North Florida Region to continue its track record of success, and bring our radio station brands to new heights!”
KRDO-FM, Colorado Springs Newsman Paul Richards Dead at 55. Colorado Springs radio pro Paul Richards, a.k.a. Paul Mundt, was found dead in his home yesterday (12/11) at the age of 55. Richards worked at several market stations during his career, including for the last four years as news director at Pikes Peak Television-owned news/talk KRDO-FM. Station general manager Tim Larson comments, “All of us here at KRDO are saddened by Paul’s passing. He was always upbeat and a true professional. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and children. He will be greatly missed.” Richards leaves behind a wife and five children.
Herskovitz: It’s All in the Sell. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today about one of the hardest job to fill in radio: that of the sales pro. He says that sometimes a potential successful account executive is right under one’s nose. He asks, “Where do you find such people? Sometimes within your own operation….an on-the-air person who will never become the next Sean Hannity. Or in businesses where you shop regularly and the salesperson offers suggestions of other items to buy.” Read more here.
Trump Cabinet Nominations, U.S.-China Relations, Biden in 2020?, Russia’s U.S. Election Influencing Allegations, Islamic State Retaking Palmyra, the Soaring Dow, and Sunday’s NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The chatter over President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees; the tenuous relations between China and the Trump Administration over Trump’s call to the president of Taiwan; speculation over Vice President Joe Biden’s potential run for president in 2020; controversy over allegations Russia was involved in propelling Donald Trump to the presidency via “fake news” stories; Islamic State’s move to retake the historic city of Palmyra; the Dow Jones industrial average’s record high; and Sunday’s NFL contests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Report: Susan Olsen Out at LA Talk Radio. According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, former “Brady Bunch” actress and Los Angeles radio personality Susan Olsen is no longer co-hosting “Two Chicks Talkin’ Politics” on the online LA Talk Radio platform. The story indicates that a social media kerfuffle between Olsen and actor Leon Acord-Whiting devolved into Olsen using derogatory terms for homosexuals aimed at Acord-Whiting. LA Talk Radio was founded in 2008 by Sam Hasson.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Moves Larry O’Connor to Afternoon Drive. Air personality Larry O’Connor has been heard during the 5:00 pm hour on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington since 2014, while also serving as co-host of the morning drive show “Mornings on the Mall” alongside Brian Wilson. Now, O’Connor will give up the morning co-host gig and host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart solo, effective January 2. WMAL program director and Cumulus VP, news/talk Bill Hess comments, “Larry’s success, both on our morning and 5:00 pm shows, has positioned him perfectly to re-open the local afternoon daypart on WMAL. He’s smart, entertaining, and an engaging storyteller who will anchor a program built on the stories of the day, with expanded service elements for our busy DC commuters.” O’Connor adds, “During this time of unprecedented change and interest in Washington DC, it’s an exciting and humbling opportunity to help facilitate an entertaining and provocative conversation on a station as important and influential as WMAL. During the four years I’ve been here in the Nation’s Capital, I’ve been so impressed with this community’s engagement in not only our government, but with issues that hit our kitchen tables every day – like pop culture, faith, and parenting.” WMAL is not renewing “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage which is currently airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Meanwhile, the station is seeking a new co-host for the AM show. Interested personalities should send resumes to Bill Hess at: Bill.Hess@Cumulus.com.
iHeartMedia Flips Alternative WXZX, Columbus to Sports Talk. Using the brand “Sports Radio 105.7 The Zone,” WXZX, Columbus leaves alternative rock behind for sports talk. iHeartMedia is using FOX Sports Radio programming plus a local morning drive program hosted by Bruce Hooley and featuring Maddie Spielman (daughter of Chris Spielman, former Buckeye All American, NFL All Pro linebacker and Fox Sports announcer). The show will announce another co-host at a later date. Former WTVN, Columbus sports anchor Matt McCoy will provide special reports. The station will air play-by-play for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cincinnati Bengals. iHeartMedia Columbus VP of programming Michael McCoy comments, “Columbus has one of the best sports fan bases in the country and they finally a have a new destination for Columbus-based sports and entertainment radio in the morning, plus the best national lineup available the rest of the day.
Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy Takes Call from President-Elect Trump. Conservative news pioneer Chris Ruddy – CEO of Florida-based Newsmax – tells TALKERS magazine he received a phone call from President-Elect Donald Trump, who praised Newsmax’s coverage of the presidential race. Ruddy says he’s known Trump for about 20 years and, while the content of his conversation with the president-elect is private, says their talk revealed a man who is “remarkably relaxed and focused.” Ruddy gives his readers a preview of how Trump and his administration might operate, saying, “Trump has the best retail political skills of any politician I have seen. Only Bill Clinton comes close. This will serve him well in the sausage-making process of getting his policies through Congress.” Read Ruddy’s entire piece here.
Cubs Baseball Was Very Good to WSCR, Chicago. WSCR, Chicago program director Mitch Rosen checks in with TALKERS magazine to report that the historic Chicago Cubs season – culminating in the club’s first World Series crown since 1908 – was a boon to the CBS RADIO station in its first year as the team’s flagship station. Rosen reports that on November 2, more than 1 million people listened to WSCR throughout the day, including the extra-inning game seven. “There were times in game seven that half of all Chicago radio listeners were tuned into ‘The Score’ to hear the hometown call of Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer. What an amazing first year it’s been for WSCR as the radio home of Chicago Cubs games. To experience the World Series on this station as we approach our 25th anniversary makes this even more momentous. When ‘The Score’ first launched, the station was a day-time only frequency, now the same brand is the home of The World Champion Chicago Cubs.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Round One of November 2016 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of November 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The November 2016 survey period covered October 6 to November 2. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. This Thursday and Friday, morning talk personality Doug Stephan and his crew will be live on the nationally syndicated “On Air with Doug, Jen & Victoria” program. Stephan is no stranger to working holidays, giving local morning hosts all over the country time off. On Thanksgiving, Doug, Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan will again broadcast live and, while others are out spending their money on Black Friday, Doug and his team will be giving away an HP Laptop with a special Black Friday contest…..Genesis Communications takes back the operation of WIXC, Titusville, Florida and is airing the news/talk format also heard on its WWBA, Tampa on WIXC. Meanwhile, John Harper’s “WMEL” talk format – which had been heard in WIXC – moves to Astro Enterprises-owned WWBC, Cocoa Beach-Melbourne.
Former WOAI, San Antonio PD Pat Rodgers Dead at 67. The programmer who is credited with creating the modern version of WOAI, San Antonio died on Monday (11/21) at age 67 after complications from a massive heart attack. The station published a bio of Pat Rodgers on its website. It notes that Rodgers came to WOAI after a number of years at then-MOR/full service WTMJ, Milwaukee with the charge of turning WOAI into a contemporary news and talk powerhouse. “Rodgers built a powerful news operation and a stable of talk show hosts which included Carl Wiglesworth, and well as Eliza Sonneland, who was his co-host on the chatty ‘Morning Magazine’ program, as well as news legends Bob Guthire and George Jennings, and sports talk host Jay Howard. In fact, Pat created the Ticket Sportsradio 760.” Rodgers left the station in 1998 to pursue his dream of becoming a Roman Catholic deacon. He edited the Archdiocesan newspaper, managed Catholic Television, and was the press secretary to three Archbishops.
96-Year-Old PR Pioneer Leo Pearlstein Guests on Special Thanksgiving Harrison Podcast. If you are looking for a simple, great approach to preparing a Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings, check out this week’s fun installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” 96-year-old Leo Pearlstein, founder and CEO of the groundbreaking LA public relations firm Lee & Associates was a pioneer in the promotion and marketing of food during the second half of the 20th century. Pearlstein specialized in representing specific food industries (such as the egg farmers, salmon raisers and prune growers) and tying in celebrity endorsements to his remarkably creative PR campaigns. He was especially influential in elevating turkey meals from being primarily a Thanksgiving custom to becoming a mainstay of people’s diets all year round. He launched that campaign with celebrated sexy 1950s movie icon Jayne Mansfield. He even played a role in inventing the heat-resistant plastic turkey thermometer that pops up when the meat reaches a safe 180 degrees in the oven. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Trump Transition, Pence-‘Hamilton’ Incident, Trump Meets with Television News Figures, Weekend Police Shootings, Kanye West Incident, Russian Military Build-Up, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21). The process of the transition of the Trump Administration; the hullabaloo over VP-Elect Mike Pence’s encounter with the cast of “Hamilton”; President-Elect Donald Trump chews out television news figures at meeting at Trump Tower; the spate of deadly attacks on police officers that took place over the weekend; Russian military maneuvers and tensions over Vladimir Putin’s build-up of the nation’s forces; hip hop star Kanye West’s political rants and the sudden cancellation of his current tour; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Melanie Morgan to Leave KSRO, Santa Rosa. Bay Area news and talk pro Melanie Morgan tells her listeners that she will be stepping down from her position hosting the “Sonoma County’s Morning News” at Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned news/talk simulcast KSRO/K278CD, Santa Rosa, California before the end of the year. Telling her listeners that she’s basically tiring of the lifestyle of a morning radio personality, i.e. getting up hours before dawn, she wants to spend more time with her husband – KCBS, San Francisco director of news and programming Jack Swanson – and dedicate more time to her Move America Forward group. Morgan, who co-hosts the program with Larry Olson, has not set a specific date for her exit.
The Presidential Race, Trump’s Rigged Election Claim, the Hillary Clinton Document Dump, Battle with ISIS for Mosul, Ecuador Restricts Assange’s Internet Access, Philippines Anti-U.S. Protest, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Nominees, MBL Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/18). The race for president and the build-up to this evening’s final debate; Donald Trump’s ongoing claim that the election is being rigged; the effects of the Wikileaks document dump on Hillary Clinton’s campaign; the campaign against Islamic State in Iraq to take control of Mosul; the restricted Internet access of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange by the Ecuadoran embassy; anti-U.S. demonstrations in the Philippines as President Rodrigo Duterte courts China for a new military partner; debate over which nominees for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame should be included; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NPR Reporting Big Ratings Increases in 2016. From a story posted at NPR.org, the public media organization is announcing that multi-platform journalism efforts have seen across-the-board audience growth this year. President and CEO Jarl Mohn is quoted saying, “NPR’s increased ratings and digital engagement can be attributed to first-rate journalism, riveting storytelling, revamped newsmagazines, live reporting, and better user platforms. And that means we are all doing a far better job of our public service mission, community engagement and local impact.” Mohn concedes that the unusual election cycle is certainly part of the reason for the growth but says that NPR stations have outperformed many of their commercial news counterparts, who’ve also experienced growth during the period. “Commercial news radio, which operates in the same news cycle and is affected by the same events, is up 15% in the morning; NPR is up 26%. In the afternoons, commercial news radio is up 19% in the top markets; NPR is up 43%.” NPR says that “All Things Considered” hit an all-time weekly audience high of 13.3 million, and “Morning Edition” is at its second-highest at 13.5 million.
Talk Radio Pioneer Barry Farber Being Honored by Hungarian Government for Role Assisting Refugees of 1956 Revolt. This Saturday, talk radio pioneer Barry Farber is being honored in Budapest, Hungary for his role in helping Hungarians revolting against Soviet oppression escape from Hungary into Austria. Faber was one of two correspondents for the Greensboro Daily News at the Austro-Hungarian border in October of 1956. Farber met an old friend from Norway who was part of a team of Norwegians assisting fleeing Hungarians. Farber volunteered on the spot to work the “Freedom Navy” – an old rubber raft with two oars. When the refugees, about forty at a time, would gather on the Hungarian side of the border canal the two oarsmen would row across, load the boat with about five refugees at a time. They would pull the raft over to the Austrian side. Then the oarsmen would row back and repeat the process. Farber and the others helped about 200 refugees out on Christmas night of 1956. Hungarian Consul-General Ferenc Kumin reports that the government asked Hungarian communities around the world to look for people who’d taken part in the refugee exodus. Of all the names on the 60th anniversary, Barry Farber is the one still alive! Farber, who still hosts a show on CRN Digital Talk Radio, says, “We owe the Hungarians big time. That heroic freedom fight marked communism’s high-water mark. Things went steadily downhill from there.”
Ramsey Hosts Smart Conference in Atlanta. Syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey hosted a daylong “Smart Conference” in Atlanta this past Saturday (10/8) at North Point Community Church. Promoting the event was Ramsey’s Atlanta affiliate, iHeartMedia talker WGST. “These events certainly increase tune-in and listenership as we lean into them,” comments iHeartMedia Atlanta region president Justin Schaflander. “Far more importantly, they truly impact the lives of our listeners as it helps them find inspiration and answers on everything from finances to parenting and just life in general. The events create a deeper relationship between our listeners and Dave’s team, which in turn, create a far more beneficial connection between our sponsors and clients as they interact with Dave’s audience. It is a win on all fronts.” Along with Ramsey were Chris Brown, Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Inky Johnson, Dr. Meg Meeker, Anthony O’Neal, and Dr. Les Parrott. Attendees were provided information on how to win with money; strengthen their marriages; build parenting skills; and excel in their careers.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2016 PPM survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of Major League Baseball flagships. In this special feature report, you will find charts listing stations by format and (6+) AHQ share; ratings fluctuations from August 2016 to September 2016; ratings comparisons from September 2015 to September 2016; how MLB key stations ranked in their respective markets; and how they did by league/division. See it all here.
Hughes’ Howard University Honor. In a ceremony that will take place one week from this Sunday (10/23), Howard University‘s School of Communications will be renamed the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, as a tribute to Radio One‘s founder and chairperson. The announcement comes after a multi-million dollar gift to the Washington, DC school from Hughes’ son, Radio One president and chief executive officer Alfred C. Liggins III. Howard University president Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick comments, “The Howard community is thrilled that Mr. Liggins has chosen to honor his mother in this manner for her pioneering work in the field of communications. The gift will have a transformational impact on the school’s commitment to serve the communications industry and as a high-level producer of diverse media specialists.”
Cox Media Group Tampa Boosts Caldwell to Digital Sales Manager. Two-year Cox Media Group Tampa digital media strategist Megan Caldwell is promoted to digital sales manager for the company’s six-station cluster. Vice president and market manager Keith Lawless remarks, “Megan knows the digital space, knows our marketing partners, and knows what it takes to compete and win in this competitive, fast moving space.” Director of sales Jason Meder comments, “We are so excited to have Megan lead our digital sales efforts in Tampa. With a background in digital content, Megan brings unique experience to this role. Her knowledge – combined with her ability to create solutions for advertisers – is an amazing resource for Cox Media Group Tampa.” Caldwell adds, “I am beyond excited to be leading our team in digital. As the digital sales manager, I will be focused on driving initiatives that help us continue to build long-term relationships with our clients.” The 2012 University of Central Florida graduate previously spent two years as Cox Media Group Tampa’s digital producer and was social media manager for New Age Skincare. With their September 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, CMG Tampa consists of adult contemporary WDUV “Lite Favorites” (9.3, #1); WXGL “Classic Hits 107.3 The Eagle” (6.0, #3); adult contemporary WWRM “Magic 94-9” (5.3, #6); CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5” (4.7, #7); talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone” (2.3, #18); and alternative WSUN “97-X” (2.3, #18).
WHO’s “Puppy Jake Foundation” Raises $22,000. Last Friday’s (10/7) third annual “Puppy Jake Foundation” fundraiser brings in more than twice as much as the combined total of year one ($4,000) and year two ($6,000). WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talent Simon Conway staged a free sandwich giveaway in the parking lot of the iHeartMedia talker and – in two hours – collected more than $22,000 to benefit the charity, which acquires, raises and professionally trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans. Conway states he was “speechless for about two seconds. People drove long distances; handed over huge sums of money; and donated enough to acquire, train for two years and ultimately hand over for free a service dog for a wounded veteran.” Thus far this year, the charity has given 11 dogs to veterans; nine more canines will graduate the program next March.
NBC-TV Suspends Bush. By now, you know it was a rough weekend for former radio talent Billy Bush, who was believed to be groomed as a possible replacement for Matt Lauer on NBC-TV‘s “Today Show.” The network has suspended the ex-“Access Hollywood” host for his role in a 2005 video with Donald Trump that surfaced on Friday (10/7). Bush is heard laughing and encouraging the now Republican presidential nominee as they engaged in a vulgar conversation about women. The Washington Post published the tape of Trump, who is heard on a hot microphone boasting to Bush about kissing, groping, and having sex with women, saying that, “When you’re a star, they let you do anything – I don’t even wait.” At first, it seemed Bush was going to appear on “The Today Show” this morning (10/10) to apologize, but by last night, NBC decided he would not go on the show; instead, executive Noah Oppenheim issued the suspension. There is no immediate information about how long it will last. “Let me be clear,” Oppenheim writes in a staff memo, “There is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape. NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.” In a statement he released on Friday, Bush notes he is “embarrassed and ashamed” of his role in the 2005 video. “This happened 11 years ago. I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along.” His weeknight (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) “Billy Bush Show” debuted on April 14, 2008; Westwood One ended production of it in late-December 2014. Prior to that radio project, a mix of music and celebrity banter targeted to CHR and hot AC stations, Bush did wakeup duty on WWZZ “Z-104,” Washington, DC (now Radio One‘s WPRS “Praise 104.1”). In advance of starting his senior year at Maine’s Colby College, Bush scored a summer internship at Bill O’Shaughnessy’s WVOX in Westchester, New York.
Jack Tomczak Exits KTLK, Minneapolis. Morning drive personality Jack Tomczak exits iHeartMedia‘s Twin Cities news/talk KTLK where he co-hosted the morning show with PD Andrew Lee. In a post on the station’s website, Lee writes about Tomczak’s departure, although he declines making public the reason, stating that’s between Tomczak and the company. For now, it appears Lee will host the “Up and At ‘Em” show solo. Tomczak had been with the station for the past five years. Lee wrote, in part, “I’m sad to announce that Jack is no longer a part of the KTLK morning show. Many have suspected as such, but I have not been able to address this publicly until now…This has been one of the most challenging weeks in my entire radio career. I hate knowing that the listeners are out there wondering what’s going on and I really hate not being able to be forthcoming on the air. I hope you understand.”
iHeartMedia Leases KKSF, San Francisco to Deportes Media for Spanish Sports Outlet. It was just three months ago during the re-alignment of Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO that Armstrong & Getty left iHeartMedia’s crosstown talker KKSF for mornings at KGO. That prompted the move-in of syndicated progressive talker Stephanie Miller to AM drive on KKSF. Now, the progressive programming is gone and iHM is leasing the signal to Deportes Media and it is airing ESPN Deportes programming on the station. Along with Miller exiting the station’s lineup are: Gil Gross, Cory (Callewaert) and Joel (Riddell), “The Doghouse with JV & Elvis” (a.k.a. Jeff Vandergrift and Dan Lay), Los Angeles-based Mo’ Kelly, and Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes.
KLWB, Lafayette Sports Talk Host Jordy Hultberg Arrested on Domestic Battery Charge. Louisiana sports media personality Jordy Hultberg has been arrested on counts of domestic abuse battery and simple battery in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana after an alleged incident involving his estranged wife, according to the Lafayette Advocate. Hultberg hosts the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show on Delta Media Corp.’s KLWB “103.7 The Game.” The paper reports that 59-year-old Hultberg is accused of pushing his wife into a dresser. According to the account, Hultberg’s estranged wife went to the house to check on him after his daughter expressed concern for his well-being. Hultberg was allegedly discovered in the bedroom with another woman.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR VIDEO POSTED – Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations. Another video recording of a key event at the recent Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations, that was held at Hofstra University on Long Island May 20, has been posted today (7/25) on Talkers.com. It is the finale of the four-part Awards Ceremony during which the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions Made to the Radio Industry by a Woman award (“Woman of the Year”) was presented to Ginny Morris, chair/CEO of Hubbard Radio. The award is presented to Morris by Danielle Lin, C.N., host of the nationally syndicated Danielle Lin Show. To view this video in its entirety, plus the convention videos already posted, please click here. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more videos from Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations that will be posted in the days and weeks to come.
‘102.5 The Bone’ in Tampa Adds Beckles for Sunday Show. Tampa talk pro Ian Beckles is being brought aboard Cox Media Group’s hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” to host a Sunday sports and pop culture show, beginning August 7. CMG Tampa director of branding and programming John Brennan says, “At ‘The Bone,’ we have the luxury to cover every possible topic throughout the week, from politics and news, to pop culture, entertainment, and sports. Ian Beckles is one of the best sports talkers out there and he brings with him credible sports analysis, with the talent to cover all the other topics. He is a perfect fit, and I’m very excited to work with him.” Off the air since 2015, Beckles previously worked at iHeartMedia’s crosstown sports talker WDAE.
Cooke: Making Your Station’s Image Great Again. Media consultant Holland Cooke writes in a column posted today at Talkers.com about how important it is that your station’s P1s associate what you do with what they want – just as Donald Trump’s supporters recognize him as the one who wants to “Make America Great Again.” Noting that perceptual studies are expensive, Cooke recommends using SurveyMonkey and illustrates how station operators can gauge how they’re doing with P1s by asking for their opinions. Read more here.
Odds & Sods. Charlotte sports outlet WFNZ has an FM frequency in the market as Beasley Media Group is now simulcasting the WFNZ-AM programming on translator W272DP at 102.5 FM…..Sports talker Matt Jones exits the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm show on Signal Media of Arkansas’ KABZ-FM, Little Rock “The Buzz.” Program director Justin Acri is hosting the show until a full-time replacement can be named…..AdLarge Media adds another podcast to its roster with an exclusive national ad sales agreement to represent the “Completely Unnecessary Podcast” (#CUPodcast), hosted by writer and gamer, Pat Contri and fellow gaming expert, Ian Ferguson…..NBC Sports Radio broadcast live from the 27th American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe South in Lake Tahoe, Nevada over the weekend. Athletes and celebrities competed all weekend for big money prizes. Some of the players this year included Justin Timberlake, Stephen Curry, Alfonso Ribeiro, Marcus Allen, Jerome Bettis, AJ Hawk, Ray Romano, Terrell Davis, Marshall Faulk, Bode Miller, Jerry Rice, Willie Robertson, Abby Wambach, Emmitt Smith, and more. Pictured here are (l-r): NBC Sports Radio hosts Dan Schwartzman, Chis Mannix, and Amani Toomer.
The Presidential Race/RNC Aftermath/This Week’s DNC, Germany Concert Explosion, Police Violence Against Blacks/Cop Killings/Black Lives Matter Movement, Rio Olympics Troubles/ Russian Doping Scandal, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The presidential race including chatter about last week’s Republican National Convention and this week’s Democratic National Convention; the suicide bombing outside a concert event in Germany; various violent/deadly encounters between police and black men, the slayings of police officers, and the Black Lives Matter movement; the troubles facing the Rio De Janeiro Olympic games and the related Russian doping scandal; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
CBS RADIO Dips 2% in First Quarter. When CBS Corp. delivers its quarterly financial reports, the focus is on television and this first quarter of 2016 is no different. As a whole, the revenue for the first quarter was $3.85 billion – an increase of 10%. But looking at radio – which is part of the company’s Local Broadcasting division – net revenue was down 2%. As for the status of the radio division, CEO Les Moonves and CFO Joseph Ianniello reiterated what’s been said publicly over the past few months: The company is pursuing making CBS RADIO a separate, publicly traded company and, at the same time, is listening to any offers to divest of some or all of the stations if it can do so in a tax-friendly manner.
iHeartMedia Reports Q1 Revenue Up 6%. Compared to the same period a year ago, revenue for the iHeartMedia division of iHeartCommunications Inc. increased $41.1 million – a jump of 6%. The company says the hike was “driven primarily by increases in our core radio business, both broadcast and digital, including the impact of trade and barter and political advertising revenues, driven in part by our live events, as well as increases in our traffic and weather business. Revenue also increased in our syndication business driven by growth in our news/talk format. Trade and barter includes the impact of marketing partnerships with our advertisers on live events, as well as revenue recognized in connection with advertising services provided during the quarter in connection with investments made in the fourth quarter of 2015 in certain non-public companies.”
Beasley Broadcast Group Q1 Revenue Rises 13.2% on Strength of New Tampa and Charlotte Properties. The net revenue for the first quarter was $27.5 million – an increase of 13.2% — that is largely the result of its late 2014 station swap with CBS RADIO. Beasley Broadcast Group traded five stations in Philadelphia and Miami for 13 outlets in Tampa and Charlotte (and one AM in Philly). Interim CEO Caroline Beasley (who also serves as EVP/CFO) comments, “While 2016 first quarter revenue included the cyclical return of political advertising, we generated organic revenue growth even without the political spending. In addition, we achieved our goal of our clusters, on a combined basis, outperforming the markets that report to Miller Kaplan for the full quarter and expect this trend to continue in 2016.” Beasley also notes that the company paid down $3 million against its debt, leaving the remaining debt standing at $86 million. She adds, “We intend to continue our use of cash from operations to further reduce debt, pay quarterly cash dividends and to pursue other opportunities to enhance shareholder value and during the first quarter declared our tenth consecutive quarterly cash dividend.”
Envision Networks Debuts ‘Today’s Comedy Network.’ The new comedy radio service from Envision Networks is called “Today’s Comedy Network,” and the company says it’s a “turnkey continuous comedy format for radio 24/7/365,” featuring “non-stop blocks of jokes and one-liners from the best comedians. This fast-paced, safe-for-work and in-the-car comedy fits perfectly for today’s radio listener.” Envision adds it’s “the first one that crosses all lines of income, ethnicity, education and gender. By using easily customizable distribution, affiliates can personalize the station to their own market with content, personalities, and contests. In addition to the informative host, each week a different comedian serves as the special guest host every hour for the entire broadcast week. Listeners will hear tracks from their latest release and inside stories about their travels, friends and insights about comedy.” Regular comics will include: George Carlin, Jim Gaffigan, Jeff Foxworthy, Christopher Titus, Brian Regan, Maria Bamford, Patton Oswalt, Bill Engvall, Eddie Izzard, Lewis Black, Gabriel Iglesias, Louis C. K., Ron White, Kathleen Madigan and many more. Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “‘Today’s Comedy’ provides the best experience for radio stations to offer their listeners. The format provides the broadest demographic appeal in the crowded talk format arena and most of all; it’s very, very FUNNY!”
Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla Renew Chemistry with PodcastOne Show. For years, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Adam Carolla worked side-by-side on the nationally syndicated (and recently cancelled) radio show “Loveline.” Now, Carolla and Dr. Drew are back together for a daily podcast titled “Adam & Drew” on the PodcastOne platform. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Adam and Drew, together again, five days a week – this time on PodcastOne. There’s really not much more that needs to be said. Who said you can’t go home again?”
WFDF, Detroit Adds Second Former State Rep. for Weekly Show. The station, being operated by Kevin Adell, brings former Michigan State Rep. Cindy Gamrat aboard to host a weekly, Thursday program. Gamrat’s joining the station comes not long after former State Rep. Todd Courser also began hosting a show on the station. Both Gamrat and Courser are facing felony and misdemeanor charges for alleged misconduct for trying to hide their romantic relationship while in office. Both are married. The Detroit News reports that Gamrat is taking on the new duties against her attorney’s advice. Both Gamrat and Courser face potential prison sentences for their alleged misconduct in hiding their affair.
The Presidential Race/Indiana Primary, Navy SEAL Killed in Iraq/Battle Against Islamic State, Syrian Civil Conflict, NATO-Russia Tensions, Flint Water Crisis, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/3). The activities of the candidates for president and yesterday’s Indiana primary election; a U.S. Navy SEAL is killed in Iraq and the ongoing battle against Islamic State in the region; the U.S.’s warning to Syria to begin plans for Assad regime change; the military tensions between Russia and NATO; the Flint contaminated water situation and President Obama’s plan to meet with Governor Rick Snyder; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Joyce Provides Color on Talk Radio Night in Chattanooga. WGOW-FM, Chattanooga early afternoon talk host Brian Joyce (left) poses for a pic with Chattanooga Lookouts play-by-play man Larry Ward (right) in the booth at AT&T Field. Joyce threw out the first pitch at the AA baseball club’s recent game against the Montgomery Biscuits on what the team dubbed “Talk Radio Night.” He says he was honored to be able to join Ward in the booth to do some color commentary. Joyce – a Division I college baseball player at Davidson College – reports that, unlike so many first pitches by celebrities, his was a perfect strike!
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Hubbard Radio Chair/CEO Ginny Morris. This week’s episode of the PodcastOne international hit program for media freaks features TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison in a conversation with the TALKERS 2016 recipient of the “Woman of the Year” award – Hubbard Radio chair and chief executive officer Ginny Morris. Morris discusses a wide variety of topics in a candid, informal phone dialogue including the huge impact that the death of Prince had on the Twin Cities market in which Hubbard is based and in which he made his home and was a beloved local figure. She discusses how Hubbard’s local talk station “myTalk107.1” – nationally known for its ongoing pioneering efforts in creating a spoken-word format specifically targeted to females – responded to the shocking event by going non-stop Prince talk. Listeners were invited to share their feelings and personal stories about living in the same community with the musical legend. Harrison also asks her about the station’s unique and brilliant campaign to promote this programming by putting the message on electronic billboards throughout the market that “myTalk107.1” was talking about Prince right now! She discusses the history of “myTalk107.1” and the many different approaches it attempted on its way to eventually gaining traction with a female-targeted talk format. Morris also relates how it feels being a third-generation broadcaster (her grandfather started the family owned-and-operated company in the Twin Cities back in the early 1920s). She optimistically discusses the challenges facing radio today competing in the digital era as well as attracting younger listeners and employees. Harrison asks her if the recent rapid growth of Hubbard in acquiring stations has generated the pitfalls of a corporate environment to which she answers it has not. She emphasizes that Hubbard’s stations are managed locally and do not receive micro-management marching orders from company headquarters. Morris says that Hubbard is extensively engaged in audience research on a “granular level.” She talks about the cultural importance of preserving radio and television history and heritage and cites her passion for the work being done at the Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland among a variety of other topics. Ginny Morris will receive the “Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Radio Industry by a Woman” (a.k.a. “Woman of the Year”) at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com. For complete information about TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations, please click here.
Cool Job Opportunities. KNX, Los Angeles has two openings in the news department. The station is seeking a news writer/editor and a news anchor. For information about the news writer/editor position and to apply, click here.. For details on the news anchor post and to apply, click here.
CBS to Explore Options for Radio Division. The company has always enjoyed the cash flow that the CBS RADIO division brought to its bottom line but CEO Les Moonves has often indicated that radio is not a core business for CBS Corp. Yesterday’s announcement by Moonves at a CBS investor day that the company will explore “strategic options” for the radio division in order to “hone its asset portfolio” is being greeted by the radio industry with mixed emotions. Potential buyers are thrilled by the thought of acquiring CBS’ heritage, major market signals, but few operators have piles of cash on hand and it will require taking on debt to buy these stations in a climate where debt can be difficult to pay off. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison offers the following comments on the Moonves announcement, “Broadcast (FM/AM) radio can still be a very viable business if stations can be acquired at realistic prices. There is still a lot of life left in the medium if it can run within a business model that makes sense per the times. Also, broadcast radio has a large audience and provides a vital set of services for millions of Americans. It just needs to be relieved of stifling debt. Radio has to be able to afford to do radio. Fresh capital within a realistic debt structure and the influx of invigorated, passionate ownership will create a much better product for radio which will further add years of vitality to the industry.” However, Harrison points out, “CBS has been and still is one of the better-run major companies in radio, so its decision to get out – although advancing the cause of de-consolidation – is not an act of desperation as much as it is indicative of their long-term asset strategy.” Moonves told investors that it views CBS TV and Showtime as its premium brands. The company is focusing intently on its digital efforts CBS All Access and Showtime via the Internet to cater to consumers’ growing on-demand preferences. CBS owns 117 signals in 26 markets, many of those clusters are in major markets. Given what CBS hopes to get for the stations it is unlikely that one buyer will be able to swallow the whole group. Since radio is not considered a growth industry by investors, finding favorable financing for radio station acquisitions – especially in light of the enormous debt fellow operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus are dealing with – will be a challenge. Moonves said all options are on the table, meaning the company would consider a spinoff or a split as well as an outright sale. CBS RADIO’s net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015 was down 5% compared to the same period in 2014.
American Broadcasters Participate in Radiodays Europe. Several prominent US radio broadcasters participated as speakers in the just-concluded seventh annual installment of Radiodays Europe – the growingly popular international radio convention that took place March 13-15 in Paris. Among them were TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison who delivered a speech titled “Lessons Learned by American Radio During the Dawn of the Digital Era” and moderated a “Fast and Curious” roundtable discussion titled, “Making Radio Indispensable;” Jacobs Media CEO, Fred Jacobs who participated in a group presentation titled, “”Radio in Car: Dashboard Disaster;” Geller Media International president Valerie Geller who conducted a workshop titled “Create Powerful Radio,” spoke in a group session titled “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes” and debuted the brand new French language edition of her book Creating Powerful Radio; iHeart Media syndicated personality Elvis Duran and VP of talent development Dennis Clark who both appeared on the panel titled “Morning Radio Superstars – In Talent We Trust; NPR producer Bianca Giaeve, who presented a session titled “Storytelling in New Medias” and appeared in the group session titled “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes;” and Futuri Media CEO Daniel Anstandig who presented a session titled “Winning the First Tune-In Occasion of the Day.” It was announced that next year’s Radiodays Europe will take place in Amsterdam. Pictured at right is Valerie Geller with her Puissance Radio French publishing team (l-r) Philippe Chapot, Francois Quairel and Frederic Bruhaltour at the debut of the French version of her classic Creating Powerful Radio.
Cumulus Kansas City Names Lance Tidwell Cluster OM and KCMO PD. Programmer Lance Tidwell joins Cumulus Media’s Kansas City station group to serve as cluster operations manager and program director for news/talk KCMO-AM. He’ll also supervise the Chiefs Radio Network. Tidwell was previously SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s San Antonio cluster. On KCMO-AM, Tidwell replaces Steve Sutton who recently exited the PD and talk host roles at the station.
Odds & Sods. The photo at right shows a billboard in the Tampa market for “102.5 The Bone” morning personality Mike Calta. Cox Media Group-owned talk outlet WHPT is also promoting the afternoon drive Drew Garabo show with a similar ad. “Bone” program director John Brennan comments on the Trump-inspired boards saying, “We’re kicking off 102.5 The Bone’s ‘CamPAINFUL’ coverage and have launched a series of parody billboards ‘Trumped’ in ridiculousness only by the 2016 Election itself.” Calta will appear at the Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on May 20 on the “Millennials and the Media” panel…..It’s being reported that the Marilu Henner talk radio show will wrap after its last broadcast on March 31. The program is no longer listed on the Sun Broadcast Group site. It is distributed by Genesis Communications Network. “Free Talk Live” principal Ian Freeman reports the news to affiliate stations. His show is also distributed by GCN…..Speaking of “Free Talk Live,” the show announces it has added new affiliates in WWHP-FM, Bloomington, Illinois; KQQQ, Pullman, Washington; simulcast KEIR, KEII, and the four translators in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, and Pocatello, Idaho; and WSDT, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee…..Greg Janoff returns to CBS RADIO New York as director of news sales for all-newsers WINS and WCBS-AM. Janoff was most recently with Townsquare Media as regional VP for New Jersey.
Round Two of February PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of February 2016 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was January 28 – February 24. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Super Tuesday II/Presidential Race, Syrian Conflict-Russian Involvement, Scalia Replacement, U.S Immigration Policy, and ‘Pawn Stars’ Cast Member Bust Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). Yesterday’s Super Tuesday II primary elections and the issues surrounding the presidential race; the Syrian conflict and Russia’s announcement it is removing its troops from the region; the controversy over the replacement of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S.; and the arrest of “Pawn Stars” cast member Chumlee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
CMG Raises Rainey to Radio Division Director/National Sales. Regional national sales manager for Cox Media Group stations in Tampa and Jacksonville Jodi Rainey adds corporate duties as the director of national sales of the radio division’s 60 stations. Cox Media Group regional vice president Susan Larkin comments that, “Jodi is a proven leader in our company. In this role, she will be able to collaborate with our national sales team and partners at Katz Radio Group to execute our strategic goals with laser focus.” Rainey remarks, “I am looking forward to working closely with our talented group of national sales managers and our Katz partners. CMG continues to put forth great traditional radio products as well as new offerings in client research, events, and the digital space. We have a great opportunity to further develop our relationships and bring value to national advertisers.” Rainey previously was general sales manager for the company’s Tampa alternative outlet WSUN and account executive for CMG’s Atlanta and Tampa clusters. Before joining Cox Media Group in 1999, Rainey worked for Katz Television Atlanta.
Darla Jaye Leaves KMBZ-AM, Kansas City. After more than 10 years in the market, talk personality Darla Jaye exits the morning show at Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ-AM “Talk 980.” Jaye’s show was the only live-and-local program heard during the weekdays on KMBZ-AM. The station is simulcasting the “Kansas City’s Morning News” program with E.J. Becker and Ellen Schenk from sister news/talk KMBZ-FM.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 11-15. The activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story of the week on news/talk radio, landing at the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the expanding FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for state department business. Coming in at #3 was President Obama’s final State of the Union address followed by the Iran-U.S. Navy incident at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Radio Part of New Deal for Michelle Beadle’s ESPN. Sports giant ESPN announces company personality Michelle Beadle has inked a new, multi-year contract to continue her co-hosting duties on the cable TV channel’s “SportsNation” with Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley. The company says, “In addition to her ‘SportsNation’ duties, Beadle will join ESPN senior writer — and ‘SportsNation’ and espnW contributor — Ramona Shelburne for their new national radio show called ‘Beadle & Shelburne.’ The new radio show will premiere February 14, airing 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET from ESPNLA 710’s Los Angeles studios.” ESPN original content SVP Connor Schell comments, “Michelle is truly one of the most authentic voices in sports and the connection fans have with her is something she has earned through the enthusiasm and insight she brings to her job every day. Michelle is a tremendous talent within the ESPN family and will play an important role in the evolution of ‘SportsNation’ going forward.”
Industry Mourns Death of Retired KCBS Anchor Al Hart. The voice of Al Hart was well known to news radio listeners in the Bay Area. He worked at KCBS, San Francisco for 34 years, starting in 1966 – two years before the station flipped to all-news – and retired in 2000. Hart died on Thursday (1/14) at the age of 88 after a long illness. KCBS morning anchor Stan Bunger says, “Al was the broadcaster I wanted to grow up to be. His positive energy and his passion for serving the audience were an inspiration every day. I’m very, very lucky to have had him as a mentor and friend.”
PodcastOne Reports 1.5 Billion Downloads in 2015. Actually, the advertiser-supported podcast network says that its download total for 2015 surpassed the 1.5 billion mark for its approximately 200-program lineup that includes shows featuring: Adam Carolla, Shaquille O’Neal, Dan Patrick, Steve Austin, Radiolab, Bret Easton Ellis, Freakonomics, Heather Dubrow, Brandi Glanville and more. PodcastOne states it worked with more than 100 major brand partners in 2015. Chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “When we started this journey three years ago, we wanted to be able to provide national advertisers and our programming partners a single destination for consumers to experience the best that podcasting has to offer. So far, so good. We’re grateful to our hosts, producer-publishers and, of course, our partner Hubbard Broadcasting. We look forward to doing our part in making 2016 the year of the podcast.”
The Presidential Race/Trump-Cruz Birther Flap, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation Intensifies, Sean Penn-El Chapo Controversy, Obama State of the Union, Battle Against Islamic State, Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, NFL Wild Card Weekend, Record Powerball Jackpot, and David Bowie Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). The activities of the candidates for president and the related “birther” issue between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz; the intensifying FBI probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server use; the controversial interview between actor Sean Penn and Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman; President Obama’s Tuesday State of the Union Address; the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; plummeting oil prices and the effect on the world’s financial markets; the NFL’s Wild Card weekend games; the record $1.4 billion Powerball jackpot; and the death of rock legend David Bowie were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
JP Peterson Joins WDAE, Tampa to Co-Host Midday Show with Ron Diaz. The iHeartMedia Tampa sports talker adds broadcast sports pro JP Peterson to the midday show, partnering up with current show host Ron Diaz for “The Ron and JP Show.” The station notes that Peterson has covered sports in the Tampa Bay market since 1997, most recently hosting “Extra Inning” and “Inside Pitch,” the Tampa Bay Rays pre- and post-game shows on WDAE. He previously served as the lead sports anchor for WFLA-TV, Tampa where he also did sideline reporting and studio work for the Buccaneers Preseason Broadcasts, covered the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup Finals, four Final Fours and four NCAA National Football Championship Games. WDAE APD John Mamola states, “WDAE is thrilled to add JP Peterson to an already established and successful show and as part of iHeartMedia Tampa. We look forward to Ron and JP’s successful future entertaining Tampa Bay listeners with a lighter side of the sports we all care so deeply about.”
Australian Rock Radio Legend Trevor Smith Shares “Down Under” Perspective of Radio, Music, Politics and Pop Culture. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined on this week’s installment (1/12) of PodcastOne’s hit program for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out,” by Australian rock radio legend Trevor Smith. Smith, a former program director of the legendary Sidney FM album rocker, Triple-M, is now head of the Australia-based production house Aloha Media (www.alohamedia.com.au/radio/), producers of major syndicated radio programs and specials heard on hundreds of radio stations across the nation/continent. The long-time friends engage in an extensive discussion of all things media from a Land Down Under perspective – radio, music, politics, and pop culture. To listen to the entire conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player boxes located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Rush Limbaugh Turns 65 Today. Happy birthday wishes go out to Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh, who celebrates his 65th birthday today (1/12). The news/talk giant will have been in national syndication for 28 years this August and has long and often been credited will breathing fresh life into the news/talk format and, many would also argue, extending the lifespan of the AM band in America.
PodcastOne to Launch Dramatic Series Called ‘Chilling Tales.’ This new partnership between PodcastOne and Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – a premiere multi-media brand specializing in the production of audio entertainment, short films and published works – will bring both published and unpublished literary projects to life with the new scripted series “Chilling Tales: The Podcast.” The program is being narrated by Master Broadcaster and host of the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival, Steve Taylor. Chilling Tales founder and director Craig Groshek comments, “Our content has been made possible over the last few years by dozens of voice actors, actresses, authors, editors, composers and sound designers. We’re thrilled to join the PodcastOne family and share our passion for storytelling with an entirely new audience. We can’t thank Norm Pattiz and rest of the PodcastOne team enough, and we look forward to what the future brings with this new platform partnership.” Pattiz says, “I have long wanted to do a series rooted in literature. These are great works. Not only are we giving voices to stories that went unpublished but deserve to be heard, but, from the content to production value, there’s nothing like this in the podcast arena.”
Salazar Joins Entravision as Political Outreach Director. Former Fox Television Washington, DC account executive Marta Salazar is named political outreach director of Entravision Communications. Salazar will oversee political advertising sales for the company’s radio and television stations. The company’s chief revenue officer Mario Carrera remarks, “We are delighted to welcome Marta to Entravision and have her skills and experience to lead our political sales efforts. Her strong foundations in local market broadcast, in addition to her unique experience in political media, make her the ideal candidate to be our political outreach director. Marta joins us during a presidential election cycle as the United States Latino vote continues to increase in influence in our key battleground markets. We are well positioned and look forward to Marta’s leadership in this important and growing part of our business.” Salazar states, “I am thrilled to be joining the Entravision organization. I am both honored and excited to be at Entravision and look forward to working with the team to help further expand the U.S. Latino voice in this exciting and dynamic political climate. I feel fortunate to be joining such a respected company, committed to both the United States Latino community and to top quality media platforms.” During the 2012 political election season, Salazar – a Florida International University graduate – was responsible for Scripps’ national political advocacy media sales. Entravision owns 23 radio outlets in California; 12 in Texas; four each in Arizona and Colorado; three in Nevada; and two each in Florida and New Mexico.
Odds & Sods. Digital platform Glimmerglass Radio launches its own green-focused radio program in conjunction with its second anniversary. Glimmerglass radio founder John Kosmer calls his platform “a self-contained online streaming talk radio station broadcasting about 50 shows 24/7.” The new program, “Green American Living,” is the only program Glimmerglass Radio produces itself. Kosmer adds, “Our new ‘Green American Living’ show offers radio stations and their listeners extensive in-depth green news reporting on issues that are becoming increasingly important to people around the world. The independent shows aired on Glimmerglass Radio comprise one of the most comprehensive radio green news gathering services in America. ‘Green American Living’ now brings the breadth and scope of that green news reporting to a regularly scheduled, one-hour broadcast intended for distribution.”…..Talk radio personality Hugh Hewitt’s associate producer – Marlon Bateman – has exited the Salem Radio Network in order to join the press operation of GOP presidential hopeful U.S. Senator Marco Rubio…..Sun Broadcast Group’s Marilu Henner (right) is pictured here with rocker Eddie Money (left) who appeared as a guest on her nationally syndicated radio program recently…..Powerball-mania has America talking and SiriusXM is airing a special program tonight at 6:00 PM ET on its Insight channel 121 called, “Dumb Luck Radio: An Idiot’s Guide to Instant Billions.” SiriusXM says the show will be a “live, one-hour, call-in special broadcast, to answer listeners’ questions including, ‘What happens if you actually win the Powerball jackpot?’” SiriusXM’s Kenny Curtis will host and guests will include: psychiatrist Dr. Michael Aronoff discussing the mental health aspects of acquiring unimaginable wealth; plus Eric Bradlow on statistics and a player’s real probabilities of picking the right numbers; and Kent Smetters will explain the best option – lump sum or annuity, finding the right financial investor and investing wisely to protect one’s winnings.
Art Bell Ends Latest Talk Show Effort Citing Attempts on His Life. Quite suddenly on Friday evening, Art Bell posted on his ArtBell.com website that he would not be going on the air that evening – or ever again, in fact – and explained that he and his family are in danger after recent attempts on his life. Here’s what Bell posted: “I am sorry to have to announce this but I will not be on Tonight or any other night, yes I am going to hang it up. Whoever this crazy person is, they are not stopping and it has come to the point that we as a Family do not feel it is worth the risk. While I think the person or persons are after me, my Wife and now my Daughter are really scared, the other night after the latest incident my Daughter was off in the corner of her bed scared to death as the Police cars came screaming up. I will not put my Family through this. As you all know I dearly love what I do but not at the expense of never ending Terrorism. I want to thank those of you who have shown so much support and it has been my joy, short as it has been to have cracked that Mic open for a last time. This was a Family decision. The girls stuck with me and still would but if one of them were harmed because of what I love doing my life would be over.” Bell had returned to AM/FM radio with a late night program called “Midnight in the Desert” via his Dark Matter Radio Network earlier this fall after years away from broadcast radio. To say this is controversial in the minds of his fans is an understatement. Chatter on the website DreadCentral vacillates between those who are sympathetic to Bell’s claim and those who simply don’t believe a word of it. Regardless, Bell is off the air, seemingly for good. The network intends to provide programming to affiliates for the next 30 days with Rowland Communications Network airing either previous Art Bell-hosted shows or Heather Wade hosting the program.
Three More Years at Salem for Mike Gallagher. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Mike Gallagher will remain in his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program on the Salem Radio Network through the end of 2018 after signing a three-year extension. He’s currently heard on some 300 stations nationwide, including new affiliate WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.” Gallagher states, “After 15 years with Salem, I’m still amazed at how fortunate I am to have a radio home at this amazing company. I’m ecstatic and humbled to be continuing for at least another three years with this world-class organization.” Salem Media Group SVP Phil Boyce comments, “Mike is one of the most talented, entertaining, and informative hosts in the country. What a pleasure it has been to be reunited with him at Salem, and be able to have a small part in the next generation of his talk show host career.”
Legal Analysis: What Do Sam Goldwyn and Geraldo Rivera Have in Common? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman offers his take on the suit against Cumulus Media filed by ousted WABC, New York talk host Geraldo Rivera:
Sam Goldwyn was a legendary movie producer from the early days of Hollywood. In fact, the G in MGM was for Goldwyn. Goldwyn died in 1974. Geraldo Rivera is a legendary and prize winning investigative reporter and media personality who is very much alive. So what do they have in common? Sam Goldwyn was quoted as saying that “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” Once you get over trying to figure out the logic of this statement, the essential truth remains that relying on and proving an oral contract is a difficult task indeed. Geraldo Rivera recently filed a lawsuit in state court in New York alleging that Cumulus Media, Inc., the owner of WABC – 770 AM radio in New York breached an oral, one-year contract with him pursuant to which he was to be paid $600,000 for 2016. In addition, he alleges that Cumulus locked him out of his studio at WABC where he already was working as a talk show host. Geraldo alleges that he had negotiated the contract with then vice president of Cumulus, John Dickey during a lunch meeting in July. However, the contract was never reduced to writing and nothing was signed by the parties. In the fall, there was a change of management at Cumulus in which its founder and CEO Lew Dickey along with John Dickey no longer were involved in active management of the company. Although Cumulus has not, as of the writing of this, responded officially to Rivera’s complaint in court, Cumulus has responded with a statement by Davidson Goldin on behalf of the company which states, “We offered Geraldo Rivera a new contract commensurate with the value of his show and our offer was repeatedly rejected.” As for locking Rivera out of his studio, no contract requires a radio station to give air time to someone under contract. All the station is required to do is to pay the talent. In this case, it would appear that Cumulus would have rather eaten the rest of Rivera’s present contract which would terminate under its own terms at the end of December rather than permit Rivera to air his grievances over the air. As for Rivera, he has stated, “It is not about the money. Because of their unforgivable disrespect, I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in salary.” What are the real facts? That will be determined in court where Goldwyn’s comment may take on new meaning.
Bubba Lawyers Again Filed Motion to Dismiss Nielsen’s $1 Million Suit. On Friday (12/11), lawyers for Bubba the Love Sponge filed a motion to dismiss the $1 million fraud suit filed against their client by Nielsen Audio. Bubba’s attorneys say that Nielsen can’t prove that it has been damaged by their client’s ratings tampering incident, that allegations of additional attempts to tamper with the ratings have not been proven and Bubba’s already been punished for the one case to which he’d admitted. They also point to Nielsen’s statements after the tampering became public knowledge that the company was able to root out the panelist in question and the rest of the market’s ratings were not adversely affected as proof Nielsen can’t show damages. This filing comes just days after Beasley Media Group re-branded Bubba’s flagship station WBRN, Tampa from “Bubba 998.7” to “98.7 No Rules Rock,” bringing into question whether the business relationship between Bubba and Beasley in Tampa will continue in the New Year.
NYMRAD Issues Third Quarter State of the Market Report. The latest edition of this quarterly report from the New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association is a “comprehensive analysis of the New York marketplace designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its prominent role in the local advertising landscape.” NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan states, “In third quarter, retailers effectively used radio leading up to the holiday shopping season. Radio has always done a terrific job of reaching people on the go, and is a huge benefit for influencing consumers closest to their point of purchase.” Regarding radio advertising in the market, the report’s “research on the department store, mass merchandiser, home improvement, and fast food sectors found that exposure to radio ad campaigns increased sales, number of buyers, and dollars spent. For department stores alone, sales increased by 10%, the number of buyers increased by 3%, and dollars spent per customer increased by 6%.” See the report here.
Odds & Sods. The patriotic rock band Madison Rising is beginning its preparation for its 2016 national tour with the release of its “Soldier’s Christmas” song and video. The presentation honors the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, along with their families who endure their loss throughout the year and during the holiday season in particular. The band (pictured at right) is on a mission to reignite authentic American culture through great rock music. Its new album American Hero (RED) is dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces, along with the police, firefighters and other first responders. The band just completed a 70-city tour, and is preparing to launch its next stretch on January 9…..Toledo market sports talkers WLQR-FM, Delta, Ohio, flips affiliations from CBS Sports Radio Network to ESPN and begins airing much of the latter network’s sports talk shows. The Cumulus-owned station is keeping local personalities Bob Frantz (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and Mike Miller (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm) on the program schedule…..There’s end-of-year programming available from ABC News Radio with programs including: “Playback 2015” with Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky; a year-end edition of “Perspective”; “World News This Year”; “2015 As it Happened”; “The Economy 2015 Year in Review” with ABC News’ chief business and economic correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and ABC News correspondent Richard Davies…..KEGL, Dallas “The Eagle” afternoon personality Russ Martin is thanking police for their work rescuing him after he was the victim of a home invasion. A story in the Frisco Enterprise reports that three masked men ambushed him outside his home, bound him and stole items from his house before escaping in Martin’s 2010 Dodge Challenger. The men have not been apprehended yet. Martin was not harmed.
‘Tis the Season for Sports Talk Radio. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes in a column posted today that this time of year represents what can be a boon for sports talk radio. With the NFL’s season zeroing in on the playoffs and basketball, hockey and college sports also in high gear, the opportunities to get creative from a sales standpoint are numerous. He notes some of the sponsored segments he’s recently encountered during play-by-play broadcasts. “‘The collision of the game’ sponsored by a vehicle repair shop; The ‘injury time-out’ sponsored by a medical group; ‘The gem of the game’ (the best play) sponsored by a jewelry store. I even heard one that was called ‘The catch of the game.’ It was sponsored by a bait and tackle shop! Laugh if you must, but this special creativity has to be acknowledged.” Read the entire column here.
Sid Mark Signs Contract Extension to Continue Hosting ‘Sound of Sinatra.’ The program has been airing in one form or another in Philadelphia for the past 59 years – the last 16 on CBS RADIO’s WPHT – and radio pro Sid Mark will continue to host the nationally syndicated “Sound of Sinatra” after recently inking a contract extension. Mark comments, “My thanks to the management of WPHT, our sponsors and, of course, my listeners for making this possible. Look forward to a big bash for the 60th.” CBS RADIO SVP/market manager for Philadelphia David Yadgaroff adds, “What Frank Sinatra is to music, Sid Mark is to radio. We are so happy to continue the tradition that Sid started 59 years ago.” As legend has it, “The Sounds of Sinatra” began with a call from a listener, who suggested that Mark spin one hour of Frank Sinatra songs. That tradition developed into “Friday with Frank,” as well as “Sunday with Sinatra,” which presently airs on WPHT on Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. It’s still heard on more than 100 radio stations from coast to coast and is the only radio program of its kind to have been personally authorized by Frank Sinatra.
Bringing Joy to the Ugly. Nationally syndicated (GCN) talk star Dr. Joy Browne invited listeners to enter photos on Facebook for her annual “Ugliest Christmas Sweater” contest. She came up with two winners – both who work as interns at the York Theatre Company’s current Broadway production of a musical titled “Plaid Tidings.” Pictured (l-r) Daniel Lees, Dr. Joy Browne, and Lucas Camp. York Theatre Company’s slogan is “Where musicals come to life.”
Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit and Tomorrow’s GOP Debate Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The passage of a week-long spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown after this week; the ‘Paris Agreement’ climate deal inked among the U.S. and 185 other countries; and tomorrow night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas were some of the top news/talk stories discussed on weekend talk radio programs, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WW1 Partners with CNBC for Tonight’s Republican Primary Debate. The third Republican primary debate takes place this evening (10/28) live from the Coors Events Center at the University of Colorado Boulder and carries a money theme: “Your Money, Your Vote.” The debate is being produced for television by CNBC and the radio partner is Westwood One which reports that more than 160 affiliate stations are signed up to air the debate. WW1 presents some data from its simulcast of the October 13th Democratic candidates’ debate, noting “one out of 10 adults (10.8%), 18+, report listening to the Westwood One News’ Democratic debate coverage, representing over 26 million people ages 18+,” and “one out of 10 Millennials, 18-34 (9.8%) report that they were reached; one of 10 Generation Xer’s, 35-54 (11.5%) report that they were reached.” WW1 EVP of news & talk programming Bart Tessler comments, “We are thrilled to partner with CNBC and to provide voters access to this debate so they can hear the candidates’ positions on their money and other issues. We are also filling a void for those Americans who don’t subscribe to a pay TV service or who live in broadcast-only households. Our radio coverage offers tremendous reach.”
Jeff Sottolano Named VP of Programming for CBS RADIO. This is a promotion from his current director, programming position he assumed in January of this year. Prior to that promotion, Jeff Sottolano had been program director of sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia. He was also program director at rock WYSP, Philadelphia from 2008 through 2011 when he moved to WIP. About his new role as VP of programming, CBS RADIO EVP of programming Chris Oliviero comments, “Jeff has made significant contributions to our content platform, not just over the air, but also to our strong digital and live event assets. With today’s announcement, he will now be better positioned to take a leadership role as we continue to craft our growth strategy, one which is squarely founded on CBS RADIO’s best in class brands.”
WGN, Chicago’s Justin Kaufmann Explains Absence from Evening Show. The host of WGN, Chicago’s 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm program “The Download” pens an explanation/apology for his now-three-week absence from the show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us to Justin Kaufmann’s letter that reads, in part, “I made a mistake. As a husband, I let my wife and my family down. And I will also tell you that this issue is between me and my wife. Also please know that my lapse in judgement was not the reason I have been off the air. The fact that an individual tried to take advantage of my private situation, and make it public, was. That’s the consequence of a bad decision in the first place. And for that I apologize.” Part-time staffers have been filling in hosting the show since October 6. It’s not clear when Kaufmann will return to the air. Read Feder’s report here.
WTEM, Washington Cancels ‘The Man Cave.’ The Red Zebra-operated Washington, DC sports talker WTEM “ESPN 908” will return ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning to the AM drive and has cut ties with Chris Paul and Jason Reid, co-hosts of the seven-month-old “The Man Cave” show. The program had an inauspicious debut. Back in late February it was announced the duo would be joining the station’s programming schedule but then the show’s launch was killed and program director Chuck Sapienza exited the station. Jason Reid is a former Washington Post columnist who’s been critical of the Washington Redskins operation and Dan Snyder owns both the team and WTEM. There was chatter Snyder was not happy with Sapienza’s decision. Then in late March the show debuted, two weeks after it had first been planned. Now, seven months later, the program is cancelled with director of programming Dan Zampillo saying, “Unfortunately we were not able to obtain the consistent level of ratings success needed in morning drive over the last 7 months, and therefore felt the need to make this change.”
Round Two of October PPM Ratings Released – Minus Tampa, Again. The second of four rounds of October 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio is released for 11 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. As was the case in September, Tampa numbers are being delayed. The September delay (ratings came a week later minus WBRN-FM) was due to a ratings tampering charge against WBRN-FM-based Bubba the Love Sponge. This time Nielsen only tells clients the reason is for “completion of additional quality assurance steps.” You can find all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his Twelve Takeaways from this round of data at our sister publication’s site here. The October 2015 PPM survey covered September 10 through October 7.
WVNJ 1160 ‘The Voice’ Gets Serious About Competing with Tuned-Up News/Talk Format in Big Apple. WVNJ 1160 AM – licensed to Oakland, NJ but covering a wide swath of the New York Metropolitan Area — has begun making moves that indicate it is getting serious about becoming more competitive in the nation’s number one market. The family-owned-and-operated, (Universal Broadcasting of NY) strategically located (in Teaneck), independent outlet pumps out a formidable 20k signal that can be heard throughout much of the Tri-State area including heavily populated portions of New Jersey, New York City, Hudson Valley, Western Connecticut, and Long Island. Recent additions to the station’s daily lineup, catching the eyes and ears of industry observers, include live clearances of syndicated major league stars Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck (11:00 am – 1:00 pm) and GCN’s Dr. Joy Browne (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm). Both have strong followings in the New York area. Other significant players now on-air include Doug Stephan, Alex Jones, Ian Freeman and Mark Edge of “Free Talk Live,” and Dr. Daliah Wachs, marking a partial departure from the station’s former reliance on brokered programming to constitute most of its schedule. Many of these changes are being initiated by the hiring of radio veteran and consultant Luis Felix as the station’s director of operations under a management/consultant agreement in which Felix is responsible for the day-to-day operations. Felix tells TALKERS, “There is still tremendous value in AM radio stations with large market reach.” He explains, “My plan is to appeal more to local listeners while offering the best national talent. The priority will be to target our local communities and offer opportunities for brokered broadcasts during certain times of the day. It’s a balancing act that can work. Just imagine brokered hosts on the same station with the industry’s leading talkers. Take Jerry Hickey from Invite Health Radio — he’s a pharmacist and nutritionist, but he loves radio. His radio show is produced utilizing professional broadcast ethics. This practice helps us maintain consistency in our quest to offer quality broadcast standards.” Felix adds, “I will also develop and expand our digital offerings so that our advertisers can achieve a better ROI. Combining top radio personalities with brokered programming, I believe, is talk radio’s winning combination. By finding efficiencies in our broadcast operations and enhancing our offerings, I may be able to turn things around. I’ve spent 34 years in this industry and have learned quite a few things. It’s in my blood.” Known on-air as Albert Lewis, the gregarious Felix’s career started back in 1981 as an intern at urban powerhouse WBLS, New York working for the legendary Frankie Crocker and includes subsequent positions at WWRL, WNYG and WGBB – all in the New York/Long Island Metropolitan area. He was also involved in designing the online local news site, DNAinfo.com, for Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts.
Herskovitz: Somebody’s Listening. Radio sales pro Al Herskovitz writes in a column for TALKERS that he believes a lot of talk radio’s “wounds” are self-inflicted. Not that new technology isn’t disrupting radio (not to mention the TV, newspaper, etc. industries), but proving that digital is an effective advertising vehicle is hardly a slam dunk. He provides an example from his work of a client so happy with the return on investment in a national talk radio campaign that he’s currently working on a renewal package for 2016 for that client. Read Herskovitz’s piece here.
Cool Job Opportunities – Howie Carr Radio Network Expanding Personnel Roster. TALKERS has learned that the Boston-based Howie Carr Radio Network – producer and distributor of the mega-successful, regionally syndicated Howie Carr Show — is adding to its staff with openings in the following positions: event planners and facilitators, full-time and part-time sales positions, part-time associate producers, and part-time marketing promotions. Interested parties should email their resumes to Kathy Carr at: Kathy@Howiecarrshow.com.
Talent Search! WGR SPORTS RADIO 550 is looking for the next great personality to add to Western New York’s sports leader. Are you talented, creative, driven and focused? Can you create compelling sports content and do you have a passion for connecting with sports fans? The ideal candidate will have 3 to 5 years sports talk experience, a deep knowledge of sports teams and the business of sports, plus a strong list of sports contacts. Must have excellent written and social media skills, work well in a team setting, and be reliable and disciplined. Are you that next great talent? Tell us your story and submit your materials including resume, aircheck and written samples to program director Allan Davis at: email@example.com.
2016 Presidential Candidates/GOP Debate, U.S.-China Military Tensions, South Carolina School Cop Case, Russia-Syria Relationship, Congressional Budget Deal, European Migrant Problems, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/27). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and tonight’s GOP primary debate; the military tensions between the U.S. and China over a U.S. Navy patrol near disputed islands in the South China Sea; the case of a school cop’s use of force on a disobedient high school student in South Carolina; Russia’s military involvement in the Syrian civil conflict; the proposed two-year budget deal agreed to in Congress; the flood of immigrants into Europe and the strain being put on resources in the affected countries; and the World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rathert Named Morning Host at KSSZ, Columbia, Missouri. Taking over the morning drive program on Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group-owned news/talk KSSZ, Columbia, Missouri “HotTalk 93.9 The Eagle” is Branden Rathert. He was most recently afternoon drive personality at ADX Communications’ WNRP, Pensacola “Newsradio 1620.” Zimmer director of programming Jamie Mac states, “We are excited to welcome Branden to ‘Wake Up Columbia’ on ‘93.9 The Eagle.’ We feel Branden’s unique perspective, where he is able to take a specific topic and come at it in a non-traditional way, will translate very well in the Columbia market. His passion for making great radio, strong work ethic and creativity make him a great addition for our station and the talk radio community here locally.”
CBS RADIO’s Mick Anselmo to Retire. Senior vice president and market manager for CBS RADIO’s Minneapolis cluster, Mick Anselmo, announces he’s retiring from the company at the end of the year. Anselmo has been managing radio stations in the Twin Cities for more than 20 years – for iHeartMedia and the old AM/FM and Chancellor groups – with the last seven spent working for CBS RADIO. The company is searching for Anselmo’s replacement to oversee news/talk WCCO “Newsradio 830,” country KMNB “BUZ’N @ 102.9” and adult hits KZJK “104.1 Jack FM.”
Jeanine Pirro Podcast Debuts on PodcastOne. A new, weekly program featuring FOX News personality and former New York District Attorney Jeanine Pirro is launching on PodcastOne. Titled “Due Process,” the podcast will “provide the legal insight behind breaking news, high profile court cases and political issues, in addition to welcoming analysts and experts on these topics.” The show will also include TED speaker and content strategist Terri Trespicio joining Pirro each Monday. PodcastOne founder Norm Pattiz comments, “Jeanine has the intellect and the energy to do a great podcast. It will be entertaining, interesting, and deal with exciting subjects. It’s great to add her to our lineup, and it’s always good to know a judge.”
Odds & Sods. Southeastern radio pro Dave Cobb is named the general manager for MARC Radio’s seven-station Gainesville, Florida cluster that includes news/talk WRZN “NewsRadio 980.”…..Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania-based Forever Media is buying sports talk WGET “ESPN Sports” and country WGTY in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania from the Times and News Publishing for $4.2 million.
CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome Visits Tampa. Nationally syndicated sports talk personality Jim Rome visited affiliate WHBO, Tampa “Sports Talk 1040 The Team” recently, taking part in a meet-and-greet during a live remote at Beef O’ Brady’s Restaurant. The Genesis Communications-owned station says, “Hundreds of Rome fans attended, giving Jim a standing ovation as he entered the restaurant. Jim made it a point to talk to every fan, sign autographs, and take photographs. People were lined up for hours to talk with him.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Rome show producer Kyle Brandt, Genesis president Bruce Maduri, Rome, and Sound Mind LLC chief Kraig Kitchin.
Nielsen Calls Audible to Publishing September Stats. Rather than spreading out the release of ratings information over four days as it typically does with its monthly data, Nielsen Audio is opting to consolidate its September PPM results into two – next Tuesday (9/29) and Wednesday (9/30). The first batch of markets is unaffected by the decision and will get their September numbers next Tuesday as originally planned. Those markets are New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; San Francisco; Dallas; Houston; Philadelphia; Atlanta; Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (Los Angeles’ Inland Empire); San Jose; and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The second group not only moves up one day, it will join group one – meaning 24 (rather than 12) markets will have data released next Tuesday. Group two consists of Washington, DC; Boston; Detroit; Miami; Seattle; Phoenix; Minneapolis; San Diego; Tampa; Denver; Baltimore; and St. Louis. Stations from the remaining 24-PPM markets (groups three and four) get to see the outcome of the September 2015 sweep next Wednesday. Group three is Portland; Charlotte; Pittsburgh; Sacramento; San Antonio; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Salt Lake City; Las Vegas; Kansas City; Orlando; and Columbus. Comprising group four are facilities in Austin; Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Providence; Raleigh; Norfolk; Nashville; Greensboro; West Palm Beach; Jacksonville; Memphis; and Hartford.
Ben Carson Muslim Controversy, Walker Drops Out/2016 Presidential Candidates, Pope Francis’ U.S. Visit, Russia’s Military Support of Syria, Muslim Migrant Issue, VW Emissions Scandal, Afghan Child Abuse Claims, David Petraeus’ Congressional Testimony, and Xi Jinping Visits U.S. Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/22). The controversy over GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson’s statement he would not support a Muslim for president; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker drops out of the presidential race tied with the activities of the rest of the 2016 presidential candidates; Pope Francis’ visit to the United States; reports of military support for Syria’s Assad regime by Russia; the issue of Muslim immigrants in Europe and the U.S.; the emissions scandal plaguing Volkswagen; the controversy over allegations the U.S. military instructs personnel in Afghanistan to ignore sexual abuse of young boys by Afghan military commanders; former CIA director David Petraeus’ apologizes for relaying sensitive material to former mistress; and Chinese president Xi Jinping visits the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Hardin, Zellner, Maynard Receive iHeartMedia Promotions. The “National Programming Platforms” group of iHeartMedia appoints Brad Hardin executive vice president/general manager; Jon Zellner executive vice president of programming operations; and Maynard executive vice president of programming strategy. All three will be New York City-based and report to National Programming Platforms president Tom Poleman, who states, “iHeartMedia’s strength is built on our great programmers working together to develop great content and experiences for our listeners utilizing our unmatched scale. Brad, Jon, and Maynard each have a remarkable amount of hands-on experience programming some of the best local radio stations in the world, making them uniquely qualified to lead our company-wide programming initiatives.” Hardin comments, “I am looking forward to working more closely with the amazing people on our National Programming Platforms team as well as programmers throughout our markets. They are the very best in content creation and live event marketing. I am excited to have the opportunity to further contribute to our future growth, and continuing to demonstrate the power of iHeartMedia’s local and national brands.” Zellner remarks, “iHeartMedia continues to set the industry standard for innovation and one-of-a-kind content. I am honored and very excited to have the opportunity to work with Tom and the programming team on implementing new ideas and strategies for our incredible brands.” Maynard notes that he has “had an incredible experience since joining iHeartMedia. It is extremely motivating to work with a company that is committed to exceeding expectations both internally and with our millions of listeners. The people in this company are what make it great, and I am truly grateful for this opportunity and even more excited for what lies ahead.” Most recently the executive vice president of programming and company-wide active rock/alternative brand manager, Hardin has been with iHeartMedia (and the former Clear Channel) for over 15 years. He was senior vice president of programming for west major markets and has programmed in Tampa, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Louisville. Zellner joined iHeartMedia in 2009 as senior vice president of programming and he is being promoted from executive vice president of programming. His resume includes senior management positions at SiriusXM and CBS Radio. Maynard will work with iHeartMedia’s programmers and oversee the company’s on-air creative directors; he joined iHeartMedia in late-July 2014.
Levin (Again) Lands At #1. Syndicated talk host Mark Levin’s “Plunder and Deceit” will reportedly debut at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list across all three categories of hardcover nonfiction, e-book nonfiction, and the combined list. This will be his fourth consecutive #1 New York Times bestseller. One of Levin’s previous books, “Liberty and Tyranny,” spent 38 weeks on that bestseller list and sold over one million copies. In a statement to Breitbart News, however, Levin emphasizes that he doesn’t “write books for The New York Times – I write them for people who love their country, want to learn about their country, and want to save their country. ‘Plunder and Deceit’ is a particularly important book. It is intended to stir the citizenry, particularly younger people, to understand what big government is doing to them and how its policies are destroying their liberty and prosperity.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison asked Levin, “What is the key to your success as a best-selling author so we can share it with other talk hosts who write books.” Levin immediately acknowledged that he is not the only accomplished author among the ranks of radio talk show hosts – then added, “It takes me a year or more to write a book. It involves extensive research and scholarship. You have to be willing to commit a lot of time to it — most weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I don’t have ghostwriters or co-authors, etc. There’s a difference between being an author and having your name on a book.” Landmark Legal Foundation president Levin is syndicated through Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One; “Plunder and Deceit” was released last Tuesday (8/4).
Hoping His Herd Heads with Him to Fox, Premiere. Speculation has become reality now that one of the worst-kept secrets in recent history is official: After a 12-year association with ESPN (the last two days there being controversial owing to his on-air comments questioning the intelligence of Dominican ballplayers), Colin Cowherd will indeed join Fox Sports and Premiere Networks in just over three weeks (Tuesday, 9/8). That is when he will begin hosting “The Herd,” a three-hour program, which will air simultaneously on Fox Sports Radio Network and Fox Sports1 (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, Eastern). Fox Sports Radio is produced/distributed by Fox Sports and iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks. “Colin is one of the most powerful and talented personalities in sports media today,” asserts Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “His addition to Premiere’s lineup demonstrates our continued commitment to reaching diverse audiences with the best talent the industry has to offer. We are excited to join with Fox Sports in bringing Colin’s passionate and engaging brand of sports entertainment to millions of people across multiple platforms. By leveraging our combined reach, we’ll have the opportunity to connect with more sports fans than ever before, while delivering unmatched results for our partners.” Cowherd states that, “It is hard to put into words how much fun it is for me, as a broadcaster, to build something with really smart, talented people. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my career to start. Fox Sports is the perfect spot for me at this time in my life.” On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Cowherd will be part of the Fox-TV “NFL Kickoff” crew. According to Fox Sports national networks president Jamie Horowitz, “Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN, so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1. Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans. We are looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.” Before joining ESPN, Cowherd did a morning drive sports show on KFXX, Portland; was sports anchor at WTVT-TV, Tampa; and sports director of Las Vegas TV station KVBC. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.
Alpha Media and Robbins & Markley Ink Multi-Year Renewal. Heard weekdays on talk siblings KXL, Portland (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) and WMBD, Peoria, Illinois (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley extend their deal with parent company Alpha Media. Executive vice president of programming, Scott Mahalick states, “Robbins and Markley bring a contemporary style and entertaining flare that connects with the audience in a big way – we are proud they are on our winning team.” Alpha Media Portland senior vice president/market manager Milt McConnell notes, “Robbins and Markley have made a tremendous showing in Portland. Scott and Jamie are two of the best communicators in our business, and we are thrilled to have them for years to come.” Meanwhile, Alpha Media Peoria market manager Mike Wild remarks, “Scott and Jamie reflect real-life, day-to-day; they are [two] of the most genuine personalities anywhere. Their chemistry is unique and they both have an amazing sense for content. The show is a completely fresh approach to talk radio.”
Circle Next Thursday as National Radio Day. Especially when considering that some offbeat things – including specific foods – somehow garner their own special day, it is rather odd that there has not heretofore been a border-to-border celebration dedicated to the medium of radio. That will change one week from today (Thursday, 8/20) when non-commercial radio stations in more than 30 U.S. cities will participate in Seattle-based “not-just-for-profit social enterprise” Brown Paper Tickets’-formulated “National Radio Day.” This year, the FCC has awarded construction permits to nearly 2,000 low-power FMs and as National Radio Day “lead organizer” Sabrina Roach explains, “This is a great opportunity to get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together. A low-power FM is like community glue. These new media outlets can become powerful resources that help neighbors to organize, share, and find solutions together. I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” Stations can promote National Radio Day (August 20 is also “National Lemonade Day”) on social media using the hash tag “#NationalRadioDay.” Brown Paper Tickets will provide promotional assistance and support for National Radio Day events organized by all participating U.S. stations. By the way, the significance of choosing August 20 as National Radio Day (which has actually been observed since the early-1990s) is to honor the day in 1920 that Detroit news station 8MK (now CBS Radio-owned WWJ – and still all-news) was licensed by the FCC. On August 31, 1920, 8MK aired the first news radio broadcast featuring local election results. WWJ’s Pittsburgh sibling KDKA-AM debuted on November 20, 1920 and, of course, has long claimed to be the “world’s first commercial radio station.”
NBC Selects Seacrest to Host Late-Night Rio Coverage. With less than a year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NBC-TV announces that its host of live late-night coverage will be KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning personality/”American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. During the 2012 London Games, Seacrest was a correspondent and he co-hosted the closing ceremony. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell promises that, “The late-night atmosphere will be electric. We are thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.” Seacrest reflects, “Joining the NBC Olympics team at the 2012 London Games was an exhilarating experience. I appreciate Jim Bell’s confidence, along with everyone at NBC Sports. I can’t wait to reunite with the team of broadcasters and producers for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and I look forward to hosting the live late night show.” Bob Costas hosted NBC’s primetime and late-night Olympic coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and he has been primetime host for every NBC-covered Olympic Games since 1992. Mary Carillo previously hosted Olympics late-night coverage. The Summer Games from Rio begin August 5, 2016.
Answers From a Presidential Hopeful. During his visit to Arkansas’ GOP headquarters, Republican presidential candidate/junior Texas senator Ted Cruz did on on-air interview with KHTE “The Answer,” Little Rock afternoon drive host Dave Elswick. The two commemorate the occasion with a selfie.
Ready for his Close-up. Part of the enjoyment industry people derive when watching television shows or movies is trying to identify an announcer’s voice when the radio plays in the background, or spotting radio talents used as “extras.” In the country’s #7 film this week, “Rikki and The Flash,” Meryl Streep’s rock singer character struggles and fumbles operating a cash register as a part-time checkout clerk. The camera catches fellow employee “Chris” grimacing at the next register. Portraying “Chris” is Salem Radio Network east coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh, who shot his scenes in Westchester County, New York. Advanced film buffs might recognize Bligh from his appearances in “A Beautiful Mind,” Cloverfield,” and “Man on a Ledge.”
Odds & Sods. Two sports programming notes from SiriusXM that take effect next Tuesday (8/18). Former University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke will host – alongside Mark Packer – SiriusXM “College Sports Today” twice a week (9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) throughout the college football season. In addition, former PGA tour professional/television analyst Mark Lye will join radio personality Bruce Murray on the satcaster’s weekly “Let It Fly with Murray & Lye.” The one-hour (8:00 pm – 9:00 pm) program will air every Tuesday night, starting next week. Lye has previously been an analyst on SiriusXM’s pre- and post-round coverage.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/12). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Devaluation of the Yuan. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this week and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. We will know how Trump fares versus Barack Obama by tomorrow morning (8/14) in terms of this week’s survey. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.
Logan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.
Nielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.
Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver. For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.” Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue. On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry. Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game. Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!” Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984. I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.” Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package. He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.” KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season. And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others. When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic. He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.” He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver. For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week. GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed. According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack. To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.
Colin Cowherd Exits ESPN Early After Dominican Comments. Already headed out the door after he accepted an offer from a competing sports entertainment network, Colin Cowherd has been removed from ESPN’s radio and TV programming after a comment he made that was deemed by the company to be offensive. In the process of arguing that baseball is not too complex a game, as some contend, Cowherd said that a third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic which has “not been known, in my lifetime, as having, you know, world-class academic abilities.” The quote was taken out of context and publicized and ESPN reacted with the following statement, “Colin Cowherd’s comments over the past two days do not reflect the values of ESPN or our employees. Colin will no longer appear on ESPN.” Cowherd apologized on Friday, but he also explained that he was taken out of context and didn’t mean to insult Dominicans. Though no official announcement of what his role will be with soon-to-be employer Fox Sports, sources tell TALKERS magazine Cowherd will be making a much as $6 million per year in his new position.
Angela Hill Moves on From WWL, New Orleans Talk Show. Leaving her 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm talk show on Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans to pursue other interests, Angela Hill is replaced by Scoot, who in addition to his evening show, also made regular appearances on Hill’s program. Hill says, “It’s been an amazing experience, one I will always cherish, but it’s time to do other things. I’ve learned so much. This is a great team…smart, smart radio people, who’ve shown me nothing but love and support. This truly is a family. I will always be a part of WWL Radio and WWL will always be a part of me.” Filling the evening slot on WWL will be a new sports talk show co-hosted by T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic, who slide over from sister sports talker WWWL “3WL” where they hosted morning drive.
Roger & JP Named Midday Show at ‘The Bone’ in Tampa. Hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” has a new midday show co-hosted by Roger Luce and John “JP” Parise. The duo comes to Tampa from Cox Media Group’s Long Island rock outlet WBAB, Babylon, New York where they hosted the morning show. CMG Tampa director of branding and programming John Brennan states, “Roger & JP are a great fit for ‘The Bone’ and the Tampa market. The team is excited to have them, and we’re looking forward to a fresh sound in Tampa Bay.” Roger & JP comment, “We’ve wanted to work in Tampa and at ‘The Bone’ for a long time. Joining ‘The Bone’ family with Mike Calta and Drew Garabo, we feel it’s a great team and can’t wait to start. Our goal is to become Tampa radio fixtures for many years to come.”
Kabrich: AQH Rating Point Increase Stat Doesn’t Support Voltair’s PPM Effectiveness. In another blog post from broadcast consultant Randy Kabrich addressing the controversial Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance and Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings methodology, he compares the Total AQH Rating of all stations in the 48 PPM-rated markets (Persons 25-54 Monday–Sunday) from both the June 2014 (prior to Voltair) and June 2015 (with an estimated 62.6% of competitive stations in those markets using Voltair units) surveys. The result is the figure rose by just 0.9 ratings points – 402.2 Total AQH Rating in ’15 versus 401.3 in ’14. Kabrich goes on to report that “a total of only 390 stations nationwide out of 1407 stations in PPM markets — Persons 25-54 Monday–Sunday — had ANY INCREASE in AQH June 2014-2015 with 600-plus Voltairs sold – and a large number of the increases were caused by facts that can easily be explained and not attributed to Voltair.” Further, he says even if all 390 stations that saw increases had Voltair units, the breakdown indicates that almost 40% of those stations saw an increase of just 0.2 AQH rating points. Read Kabrich’s entire blog here.
Miklasz Returns to WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Three years ago, St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Bernie Miklasz stepped down from his second gig as midday sports talk host on Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis. Now, the company announces that Miklasz will return to the station in late August to host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show. He will exit his role with the newspaper. WXOS is an ESPN affiliate and to make room for Miklasz, the station will only air the first two hours of ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning.”
Nashville Sports Talkers Greg Pogue and Joe Dubin Return to Radio on WNSR Simulcast. Sports talk personalities Greg Pogue and Joe Dubin are returning to the Nashville radio waves today on Southern Wabash Communications’ WNSR and W240CA simulcast. The “Greg Pogue and Big Joe Show” will air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Previously, the duo aired on Cromwell Group’s crosstown “The Game 2” (WQZQ and translator W235BW) but ended that show when Dubin joined WSMV-TV as a sports reporter.
Odds & Sods. Talk personality Ed Schultz’s days on MSNBC appear to be numbered as wholesale changes to the MSNBC cable channel are on the way. According to the New York Daily News, new NBC News chief Andrew Lack told staffers of both NBC News and MSNBC that he plans to rebuild MSNBC to focus on breaking news coverage and to be less of a left-leaning talk outlet. Lack also plans a name change for the network since Microsoft hasn’t been involved with the cable channel in years. Schultz’s “The Ed Show” is reportedly one of the shows slated for demolition as part of the re-build. Schultz ended his three-hour, daily syndicated AM/FM radio show in May of 2014 and currently does a one-hour, web-based radio program…..BobsBlitz.com reports that WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale sports talk host (and former longtime New York radio personality) Sid Rosenberg will return to WABC, New York on August 4 and 5 to sit in for Geraldo Rivera. The blog reports that Rosenberg will be joined on the air by Don Imus executive producer Bernard McGuirk…..AdLarge Media becomes national ad sales rep for The Associated Press’ news digital on-demand service via the AudioBoom podcast platform. The deal broadens the reach of AP’s breaking news audio service and allows affiliate radio stations to host on-demand audio on their websites and mobile applications with updates every hour, 24/7.