Tag: "The Hollywood Reporter"

Monday, April 29, 2019

| April 29, 2019

Beasley Broadcast Group Q1 Net Revenue Up 4.6%.  The 2019 first quarter financial report from Beasley Broadcast Group includes the acquisition of WXTU, Philadelphia and reveals net revenue of $57.7 million – an increase of 4.6% over the $55.2 million figure from the first quarter of 2018.  The company says the increase “reflects growth in the company’s Philadelphia cluster primarily related to the September 2018 acquisition of WXTU-FM, growth in the company’s Tampa cluster primarily related to the 2018 acquisition of an event company, and revenue growth in three of the company’s other radio markets, partially offset by declines in the remaining markets where the company operates.”  Station operating income rose $0.6 million or 6.2% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019 to $10.2 million.  The year-over-year increase reflects the net revenue growth during the period which more than offset a 4.3% year-over-year rise in station operating expenses related to the company’s expanded platform.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “The ongoing execution of our strategies to expand our scale, diversify our revenue mix and leverage the value of our premium local brands and content continued to serve Beasley well in the first quarter of 2019.  The strength of our station clusters in three of our top five largest revenue markets as well as contributions from recent acquisitions and station swaps resulted in a 4.6% revenue increase and more than offset the $0.8 million year-over-year decline in revenue from our prior relationship with United States Traffic Network, which was discontinued in the third quarter of 2018.  As a result, Beasley’s first quarter net income rose to $1.4 million, we generated a 6.2% year-over-year increase in SOI and generated an overall margin improvement.”

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT:  Sports Talk Radio to be Spotlighted at Forthcoming Talkers Convention.  An examination of sports talk radio will be one of the many highlights planned for the forthcoming Talkers 2019: Telling the Story on Friday, June 7 in New York City.  There will be two significantly pertinent sessions addressing spoken-word radio from the sports talk perspective.  The first will be a one-on-one discussion between two leading influencers in the genre.  Mark Chernoff, SVP programming WFAN/Entercom New York and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio will be in direct conversation with Mike Thomas, program director, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” and brand manager for spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting.  The introducer/facilitator of this conversation will be nationally syndicated talk generalist Kate Delaney, host of “The Kate Delaney Show” (Genesis Communications Network) and weekend contributor to NBC Sports Radio.  The other major sports talk session featured at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will be a special keynote address delivered by nationally syndicated CBS Sports Radio superstar Jim Rome, titled, “Engaging the Already Informed.”  Rome will address the challenges presented in the modern era of heightened, amplified, and sped up communications – not just in sports talk but in all forms of talk radio – in which the audience already has the basic information about what’s happening news-wise within the genre before the conversation even begins.  Don’t miss these sessions!  The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout. To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and registration/hotel information, please click here.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk radio.  Just 28% of news/talk stations saw their weekly 6+ AQH share increase from February to March, while 51% went down.  Comparing year-over-year ratings, half the stations on our panel were up and half were down, with some notable movement from some of the country’s prominent news/talk outlets.  iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati rose 2.6 shares from March 2018 to March 2019 while Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City and iHM’s WISN, Milwaukee both dropped 2.4 shares year-over-year.  Just two news/talk outlets ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in March – Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: Promotion, Now More Than Ever. Consultant Holland Cooke writes in this week’s Monday Memo that too many radio stations don’t spend enough capital promoting themselves.  “One of radio’s enduring and painful ironies is that we sell advertising, but many stations DO none…which advertisers notice.  And, conversely, they view stations that do promote as ‘big,’ and they feel that stations’ off-air promotion supports the schedules we’ve sold them.”  Need reasons why you should be promoting your station?  Read Cooke’s column here.

AM Signals Profiled in Politico Piece. Different people have different opinions about the efficacy of AM radio in the 21st century, but a piece published recently in Politico presents a view of six AM broadcasters who connect with their audience in unique ways that belie their humble AM platforms.  The gist of the story is that there are audiences being served in very important ways via a broadcast technology that many – including a fair number in the radio industry – believe is past its prime.  But the cases illustrated in the piece indicate that for some, the value of the radio station is immeasurable.  Read it here.

Salem Media Group Profiled by The Hollywood Reporter. The piece is written by Jeremy Barr and is titled, “How Salem Is Quietly Becoming a Conservative Media Giant.”  The story quotes several Salem Media Group execs – including SVP Phil Boyce – as it lays out the company’s philosophy of presenting consistently conservative radio programming and digital conservative news and opinion sites that target politically aware and conservative Americans. The company also offers Christian talk and music programming.  SVP of spoken word programming Phil Boyce says the Salem Radio Network’s lineup was created purposefully.  “Every weekday, from 6:00 am ET to midnight, Salem broadcasts talk radio programming that fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. There is a linkage between all of the shows and while not all stations take our entire lineup, all of them could and you would not get tired of it.”  Read the whole piece here.

Lynn Woolley Show Returns to the Air in Central Texas. Longtime, Texas-based radio talk show host Lynn Woolley is going back on the air in Central Texas.  Via a deal with M&M Broadcasters, the Lynn Woolley show will be heard on sports talk outlets KLRK-AM/K257GO, Waco and KTON-AM/K230CH, Killeen-Temple-Belton, beginning on May 6.  Woolley has broadcast from studios in Temple for the past 23 years but the show will re-locate to Waco and will air live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  He says, “I could not be happier to work with some of the biggest names in Central Texas radio.  David Smoak is a nationally known sportscaster and the voice of the Baylor Bears. John Morris also broadcasts with M&M. I’m a Longhorn by nature, but I can guarantee that at least 10 times each season, I’ll be pulling for the Bears!”

Galaxy Media Appoints Dana Loucks CFO.  Taking over as the chief financial officer for Galaxy Media is Dana Loucks.   Galaxy president and CEO Ed Levine says Loucks will assume the CFO duties on May 14.  “We got to know Dana some years back as he was our banker for a period of time.  His tremendous knowledge of finance combined with a wonderful personality made him my first and only choice to succeed our great CFO Mike Lucarelli who is retiring.”  Loucks says, “I am truly looking forward to working with Ed and the rest of the progressive team at Galaxy Media.  Their longstanding commitment to quality in all areas of the business is a testament to the team’s dedication and work ethic. I am excited for the opportunity to join them and contribute to Galaxy’s continued success.”

TALKERS News Notes. The New York State Broadcasters Association announces the winners of its Excellence in Broadcasting awards for 2019.  In the large market category, WABC, New York’s “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” takes home the Outstanding Morning Show award.   In the medium market category, WHAM, Rochester was honored with the Outstanding Newscast award…..Sun Broadcast Group announces that it is handling syndication of “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis.”  The program has been syndicated by Premiere Networks and it’s unclear from the SBG press release if Premiere is out of the picture and SBG is handling ad sales as well as affiliate sales.  Lewis is quoted saying, “We are so thrilled to partner with Sun Broadcast Group.  This is such a great opportunity for our format to reach new audiences. We have something for everybody no matter what you believe in.  We can’t wait to see what Jason Bailey and his team can do with our show and bring it to the next level. The support and dedication we have received from SBG so far has been incredible.”…..Texas Radio Hall of Famer Roger Emrich died on Saturday (4/27) after suffering a heart attack last week.  The 62-year-old broadcasters was a regular personality on KRLD-AM and the Texas State Network.  Emrich was also the stadium announcer for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Mueller Report Release Aftermath, 2020 Presidential Politics, Trump’s Wisconsin Rally, California Synagogue Attack, Southern Border Crisis, Game of Thrones, Avengers: Endgame Movie, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The response to the release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the politics surrounding the election; President Trump’s rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Saturday; the deadly attack at a California synagogue; the state of the migrant influx at the U.S.-Mexico border; Sunday night’s episode of “Game of Thrones”; the new Marvel Comics film Avengers: Endgame; the NBA playoffs; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Seattle, Jon Manley exits Entercom’s alternative KNDD “107.7 The End” where he’d been serving as APD, music director, and afternoon personality for the past five years…..Producer JP Allen joins Entercom’s country KMLE, Phoenix as producer for the “Maria & Chad” morning drive show. Allen has been with the company’s WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” producing the “Jeff and Jenn” show…..Entercom alternative outlet KROQ, Los Angeles reveals the lineup for this year’s 27th annual “KROQ Weenie Roast.”  As the event moves to Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California on Saturday, June 8, it will feature: The Lumineers, 311, Silversun Pickups, The Revivalists, Catfish and the Bottlemen, X Ambassadors, Flora Cash, Smith & Thell, and The Regrettes.  Entercom Los Angeles SVP Jeff Federman says, “We’ve always believed ‘Weenie Roast’ belonged on the beach and we are thrilled that after 27 years we are finally able to dig our feet in the sand.  We look forward to entertaining our listeners with this amazing lineup featuring some of their favorite artists that they hear on KROQ.”

Friday, April 12, 2019

| April 12, 2019

Sean Hannity Named Among Top 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media. This 2019 edition is the ninth annual list of the 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media published by The Hollywood Reporter, and Premiere Networks syndicated radio personality and FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity is once again on the list.  The Hollywood Reporter points out Hannity’s achievements, including his status as a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame and winner of a Marconi Award, and his hosting 2018’s most-watched cable news show.  It also writes that his “closeness with Trump has bestowed unprecedented influence — not to mention well-watched exclusive interviews. Even his time slot rival, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, calls Hannity ‘the most powerful person in the media.’”  The only other FNC personalities to make the list are FOX & Friends hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade and FOX News’ Shepard Smith.  See the list here.

KNBR, San Francisco Renews Midday Personality Larry Krueger. Twenty-two-year KNBR sports talk personality Larry Krueger signs a multi-year contract extension with the Cumulus Media station to continue co-hosting the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show with Gary Radnich.  Krueger also serves as host of the pre- and post-game shows for San Francisco 49ers and Stanford Cardinal football broadcasts.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe says, “Larry is a cornerstone of KNBR ‘The Sports Leader.’  He brings a tremendous work ethic and ability to connect with Bay Area sports fans weekdays on ‘Gary & Larry,’ while also providing listeners with first-class coverage across KNBR’s San Francisco 49ers and Stanford Cardinal game day broadcasts.  We are extremely proud to extend our relationship with Larry for years to come.”

WLS-AM, Chicago Celebrates 95 Years on the Air. Today, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago is celebrating its 95th birthday on the air and will mark the milestone with live interviews, contests, as well as “throw-backs showing WLS’s long legacy serving Chicago, Illinois, and much of the lower 48 for 95 years.”  The station first launched on April 12, 1924, as Sears-Roebuck and Company’s own broadcast outlet to reach and market to farmers.  Shortly after 6:00 pm that day, Edgar Bill stepped to the microphone and exclaimed: “Here ye, here ye, here ye! WLS, the Sears-Roebuck station is on the air!”  The call letters WLS stood for “World’s Largest Store” and first aired farm and civic programming, popular music, comedies and radio serials.  Guests on the station today will include numerous former WLS-AM staffers and Chicago media icons including: John Records Landecker, Roe Conn, John Gehron, Garry Meier, Tom Tradup, Tim Sabean, and more.

Beasley Names Burton Las Vegas Cluster Manager. Media management pro Peter Burton is named vice president and market manager for Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas operations that includes news/talk KDWN and four music-formatted stations.  Burton was most recent COO of California-based Converze Media.  Prior to that he’d served with Entercom as VP/GM of its Los Angeles stations.  He also worked in the rep firm end of the business with both Katz and CBS.  Burton says, “Las Vegas is one of the most dynamic growth markets in the country.  The Beasley family has assembled a group of radio stations with amazing potential. I’m thankful for the opportunity to join their team.”

Mueller Report Aftermath Remains Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 8-12. The events following Robert Mueller’s report to the AG’s office were again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Southern border crisis and the related shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security.  Coming in tied at #3 were 2020 presidential politics and the attempts to get President Trump’s tax returns, followed by the college admissions scandal at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Per Rodney Ho’s report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, WYAY-FM “Talk 106.7” afternoon drive host Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson and co-host Pete Davis were suspended for three days this week by Cumulus Media management for his on-air comment about U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath that was deemed sexist.  Ho reports the on-air conversation was about gun laws and Rep. McBath and included Davis saying to Peterson, “You’re there to knock Lucy McBath back into the kitchen.” With Peterson replying, “Yeah, go back to sewing stuff and leave my guns alone!” The company issued a statement condemning Peterson’s comments.  As regular TALKERS readers are aware, WYAY is being sold to Educational Media Foundation and will flip to a Christian music format.  Closing is expected to take place as early as next month…..The New Orleans Advocate is reporting that a local ownership group that includes actor Wendell Pierce, local PR firm owner Cleveland Spears, business consultant Troy Henry and local media entrepreneur Jeff Thomas are buying urban talk station WBOK, New Orleans.  The group has formed Equity Media and expects to close the deal within a few months.  Bakewell Media is the current owner of the station.  Equity Media says in a statement, “The opportunity to elevate the station by ensuring that it provides a well-rounded view of major issues that affect the day-to-day lives of African Americans is something that we all feel immensely passionate about.”  After taking over the station, the new owners say they will launch “a full assessment of the organization, programming and brand identity, with plans for a relaunch of the station in mid-summer.”…..In Western Massachusetts, the radio and television public media outlets are merging into one company called New England Public Media. Coming together are New England Public Radio’s WFCR-FM, Amherst and WGBY-TV, Springfield.  A statement from the organizations says they will merge to form an independent non-profit, expected to close near July 1.

Golf Tourney Raises $100k for Broadcasters Foundation of America. Concurrent with this week’s NAB Show in Las Vegas, broadcasters took part in the Philip J. Lombardo Charity Golf Tournament at Bali Hai Golf Club that raised a record $100,000 in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation of America to help broadcasters in need. Pictured above (l-r) are: Leo MacCourtney, president of Katz Television Group; Michael O’Brien, VP distribution, E.W. Scripps CompanyRalph Oakley, president/CEO of Quincy Media, Inc.; Matthew Johnson, director of sales, Katz Television Group; and Jim Thompson, president of the Broadcasters Foundation of America.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Houston, Cumulus Media inks night jock Tyler Frye to a new deal to continue his role with CHR KRBE-FM.  Program director Leslie Whittle says, “Tyler launched ‘H-Town Live with Tyler Frye’ on KRBE four years ago and hasn’t looked back.  When you listen to him each night you know exactly what’s happening in our great city at that moment, plus his social game is second to none.  He’s truly formed a relationship with our listeners because he understands how to communicate on all levels.  I’m thrilled to continue our partnership!  I am beyond excited and extremely humbled to sign an extension with one of the most successful and legendary radio stations in the country.  This city and my coworkers are truly second to none.”…..Lon Helton, host of Westwood One’s “Country Countdown USA” and publisher of Country Aircheck, was honored for his impact on country music with the Bob Kingsley Living Legend Award during an event held Wednesday (4/10) at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.  The award was created in 2014 to recognize the most deserving individuals across the spectrum of record label/industry, creative/production and radio/media.  The evening benefitted the Opry Trust Fund, which for more than 50 years has supported members of the country music community in need.  Among the artists who performed at the event were: Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Eli Young Band, Vince GillRandy Owen, Carly Pearce, Steve WarinerMark Wills, Trisha Yearwood, Chris Young and a special appearance by Randy Travis. The award was presented by Bob Kingsley himself.  Pictured below are (from l-r): Kingsley; country star Trisha Yearwood; Helton; the Grand Old Opry’s Sally Williams; and country legend Garth Brooks.

Monday, April 16, 2018

| April 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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