Tag: "Toronto"

Friday, April 3, 2020

| April 3, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled, “Behind Closed Doors!” looks back at this past week of March 30-April 3, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Blasingame, talk show host, “The Small Business Advocate”; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Doug Stephan; talk show host, the “DJV Show”; Mike Bendixen, program director, CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010”; Ethan Bearman, attorney/correspondent, FOX News Channel; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist, Psychcast-MDedge. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Radio’s John McConnell Cheats Death Thanks to Anti-Malaria Drug. Former ABC Radio SVP of programming and current EVP of talent and content management agency Workhouse Media, John McConnell, narrowly escaped the clutches of COVID-19 thanks to Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) – a drug used to combat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.  McConnell tells TCPalm.com’s Laurence Reisman that after being admitted to Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach in very bad shape, he and his wife had made out their wills and, after a time, had even said goodbye to each other, expecting the worst.  Staff were preparing to put him on a ventilator and McConnell had heard about the poor recovery rates for ventilated patients. But Dr. Gene Posca was also talking to McConnell about the pros and cons of Plaquenil and McConnell decided to try it.  The first 12 hours did not provide relief, but soon thereafter, McConnell began to feel better.  He says he’s feeling better every day and his main concern is to not get exposed again.

Missouri Radio Personality Recovering from COVID-19. “American Viewpoints” host Mike Ferguson believes he contracted the coronavirus during a recent trip to Chicago.  Feeling ill about a week after his trip, Ferguson saw a doctor who diagnosed a bad cold.  KRCG-TV, Columbia, Missouri reports that diagnosis was wrong, and Ferguson ended up spending nine days in a St. Louis hospital before being released.  Ferguson produces the “American Viewpoints” program that airs across numerous radio stations in Missouri, including on Zimmer Broadcasting’s talk stations KWOS-AM, Jefferson City and KSSZ-FM, Fayette “93.9 The Eagle.”  He tells KRCG-TV, “It was very painful in the lungs.  When I would start having a coughing fit, and these would last 90 seconds to 2 minutes, you would get residual pain from headaches, abdominal strain and things like that.  The really scary part is when you just can’t suck in enough air and you just keep coughing out more air than you can bring in.”  Ferguson was given a three-day treatment of anti-malaria medicine.

Sterling: Call in Your Chips. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling wonders why the industry that put the current administration into power – radio – isn’t asking to be saved from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “Right now, radio companies are firing people.  Why?  Isn’t radio eligible for the bailout?  Every radio company expense line could easily fit into a two trillion-dollar package.  Isn’t that bailout for media as well as other industries?”  Read his column here.

John Minko Takes Early Buyout from WFAN. As reported by Newsday, WFAN, New York update anchor John Minko is taking a buyout from the Entercom sports talk outlet, thereby creating a position for another staffer.  The 67-year-old Minko has been with the station since June 29, 1987 – two days before it flipped to sports.  It was about a year later that Emmis executive Rick Cummings (remember, Emmis owned the station at the time) saved Minko’s job at the station.  Minko tells Newsday he told Cummings, “I said, ‘There’s no way I can thank you for this,’ And he said, ‘Yes, there is a way… you could do this for somebody else someday.’”  He adds, “I thought that if I took it now, which was the right thing to do, if that prevented somebody else from getting fired, then I thanked Rick [for what he did].”

Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco and KWFN, San Diego Present ‘Virtual Game of the Week.’ Sports talk outlet KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” are inviting fans to “97.3 The Fan’s Virtual Game of the Week,” a baseball game featuring the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants on SonyPlayStation 4’s “MLB The Show 20” video game.  The contest will be streamed on the stations’ Facebook pages and will feature real-time commentary from air talent Ben Higgins, Steve Woods, John Kentera, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Chris Ello.  KGMZ-FM personalities Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal, Dan Dibley, Joe Shasky and Ryan Covay will also participate.

TALKERS News Notes. WFAN, New York sports talk host Mike Francesa and station owner Entercom have issued a cease-and-desist order to a Twitter user – and regular Francesa antagonist – for that person to stop posting audio and video of Francesa’s program.  The New York Post reports that the anonymous person behind the Funhouse Twitter account will abide by the order but tweeted, “He just went from being mostly irrelevant to completely irrelevant.  Don’t misunderstand… I’m a nobody, but I lost count of how many people told me they only hear him via my clips.  He didn’t think this through.”…..The previously announced RAB webinar, “Data Drives Revenue” featuring Analytic Owl will feature brand-new granular data. COVID-19 has challenged marketers to find the best messaging and methods to communicate with consumers.  The RAB says that in this one-hour webinar, Analytic Owl’s David Shapira will share new data and insights for the current business unusual landscape.  It’s free for RAB member and takes place Tuesday (4/7) from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Thursday (4/9) from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET…..Podcast listens continue to rise for FOX Sports RadioPremiere Sports Network says FSR realized one million more podcast listens in March 2020 than in February 2020, when there was a full month of live sporting events.  FSR goes on to say that year-over-year, the network’s total podcast audience grew by 67%…..Pineapple Street Studios and The Meteor announce the launch of “Doctor’s Log: A COVID-19 Journal,” a limited-run podcast series on which leading ER physician Dr. Esther Choo reports from the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis — the emergency room of a busy American hospital — as health professionals encounter the most significant health threat and pandemic in modern history.  She says, “There is a gap between what we’re experiencing and worrying about on the healthcare delivery side and what the general public sees.  My experience is just one piece of the global healthcare response to the pandemic, but hopefully with this podcast, I can represent the voices of my colleagues, honor their work, and share their struggles as the entire country grapples with an unprecedented threat.”

Statistics About COVID-19 Infections and Projections of Future Cases Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 30 – April 3. Statistics and projections about the infection and fatality rates of the coronavirus were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the strain placed on the U.S. health care system by the pandemic.  Coming in at #3 was the state of the world’s financial markets, the economy, and the relief package approved by congress and signed by President Trump, followed by the politics surrounding the pandemic and its effect on the November presidential race 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Mike Waters is joining NRG Media’s classic hits KOKZ, Cedar Rapids/Waterloo as morning drive personality, effective Monday (4/6).  Station operations manager Jeff Winfield says, “We are thrilled to have Mike join NRG Media as the voice for 105.7 KOKZ for the morning drive.  He brings more than 30 years’ experience in the radio industry across a variety of formats.  Mike understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio.”  Waters adds, “I look forward to the opportunity to work with a great team already in place in the market!  I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a very talented group of individuals, a great radio company.  I can’t wait to get on air.”…..SiriusXM – with the help of pop star Taylor Swift – is launching a Home DJ series on its CHR channel SiriusXM Hits 1.  Beginning today, Swift (followed by other pop artists) will take over SiriusXM Hits 1 from her home.  Swift and the other stars will be playing the most requested hits and their favorite music, providing commentary and more to connect with their fans all across North America.  Others to take part in the program will include: Niall Horan, Camila Cabello, Sia, 5SOS, Diplo, Kelsea Ballerini, Charlie Puth, Pete Wentz, and more.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We love to connect fans with their favorite artists, and our Home DJ series will bring some of the biggest names in music into our homes as people look for ways to be entertained.  Taylor Swift will lead the way and will be followed by many stars on Hits 1 in the days ahead as they play their favorite music for the channel’s faithful national audience and new listeners too.  Our new Stream Free option opens up our channels to anybody who wants some diversion and great music.”

Thursday, April 2, 2020

| April 2, 2020

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE: Mike Bendixen of Canada’s Bell Media Checks in with Covid-19 Input for U.S. Radio Broadcasters.  The program director of CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” and national news/talk format director of Canada’s Bell Media has checked in with TALKERS this morning (4/2) to discuss how his station and broadcasting company has been handling the coronavirus crisis.  Mike Bendixen and Michael Harrison discuss remote broadcasting, upgrading technology, accurate messaging, and politics as well as the short and long term impact this crisis will have on radio listening in general.  Bendixen offers sound advice based on his experience.  Warning: the following dialogue contains some raw language.  To listen to this morning’s conversation between Mike Bendixen and Michael Harrison, please click here.

Entercom Notifies Employees of Pay Reductions, Furloughs, and Eliminated Positions. In a memo to employees this morning (4/2), Entercom CEO David Field announced the company is taking the painful steps of eliminating or furloughing a “significant” number of positions.  Here’s his memo to staffers: “Thank you for your resilience, dedication and fortitude as we manage through the extraordinarily challenging and disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are all doing our best to ensure that our loved ones remain safe and healthy while working tirelessly to serve our listeners, customers, and communities. I am deeply appreciative of everything you are doing to keep us moving forward under these difficult conditions. We are fortunate to work in an industry that plays such an important role in our country at a time of crisis, providing a critically important and trusted local voice for news and information as well as entertainment, companionship and respite during these uncertain times.  Unfortunately, the severity of the situation necessitates us making significant cost reductions in order to cope with the realities at hand. Our nation is facing unprecedented disruption that has shut down countless businesses and entire industries, including many of our customers.  This is having a very large impact on advertising revenues.  We must take hard but necessary actions to ensure that we endure the crisis and emerge as a strong, healthy and competitive company.  I am deeply saddened that we need to make these painful moves at this time, but they are necessary under the circumstances. We are doing everything in our power to minimize the number of layoffs through shared sacrifice across the organization, but we will still need to eliminate or furlough a significant number of positions. In order to make the transition less painful for our colleagues, we will be providing up to an extra month of additional severance for those individuals for whom their normal severance and the recently announced enhanced federal unemployment benefits provide less support. In addition, we will be providing enhanced employee benefits for furloughed team members.  We will also be taking other cost reduction actions at this time, including the temporary suspension of our dividend and our 401(k) Company match, the elimination of Q1 and Q2 bonuses, and temporary salary reductions of between 10% and 20% for anyone earning a salary in excess of $50,000 per year.  I will be taking a 30% salary reduction.  We hope to restore regular salaries, bonus eligibility and our 401(k) plan match at the start of the third quarter.  I very much appreciate the sacrifice that people will be making in these difficult times.  We will get through this crisis and put this all behind us. Better days lie ahead. With the tough but necessary actions we are now taking, we are doing what is required for us to preserve the health of the company and ensure that we are strong when we get to the other side. Our future is further protected by our strong financial position with substantial cash reserves and virtually no debt due before 2024. And when the crisis abates, we look forward to resuming our growth and building on our strong strategic position as a leader in the audio business, including the best lineup of local radio stations in the United States.  I deeply appreciate your dedication and commitment and look forward to better times ahead. We will be following up with additional information shortly. Yours, David.”

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Joins Newsmax TV. Joining Newsmax TV as a contributor is former Virginian Governor Bob McDonnell.  Newsmax says that McDonnell “brings a wealth of experience, having served 14 years in the Virginia General Assembly, as Virginia’s Attorney General, and as the commonwealth’s 71st governor from 2010-2014.”  He’ll serve as a political and legal analyst for the 24/7 cable news network, covering the Trump administration, the 2020 presidential race, and the significant issues of the day.  Newsmax TV chief content officer and EVP of programming Elliott Jacobson says, “Bob has had a long and distinguished career in public service and intimately knows the ins and outs of government and politics.  He’s a very valuable addition to our growing roster of distinguished commentators on Newsmax TV.”

Entercom Files Motion to Dismiss Discrimination Suit by Former WIP-AM, Philadelphia Account Executive. Back in mid-January, former WIP-AM, Philadelphia account executive Maria McBride filed a sex-based discrimination and breach of contract suit against Entercom Communications.  In the suit, she alleges she was touched inappropriately, and stared at by her superior; claims she was overworked tending to promotions because of failure on the promotions department to staff events; she developed health issues as a result of her working conditions and alleges the company did nothing to help.  She also claims she was denied a bonus in violation of her contract and eventually fired.  Yesterday (4/1), Entercom filed a 30-page Motion to Dismiss in New Jersey federal court, arguing McBride didn’t sufficiently demonstrate her claims of a hostile work environment, of retaliation, of breach of contract, nor the other claims.  Entercom also argues that if the Court allows the case to go forward, it be transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

TALKERS News Notes. Self-described financial expert William Neil “Doc” Gallagher (he didn’t have a state investment advisers license in Texas), who brokered time for his “The Money Doctor” show on Dallas market stations KAAM-AM, KSKY-AM, KLTY-FM, and KWRD-FM, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for defrauding some 60 investors of more than $20 million.  The Dallas News reports that Gallagher targeted elderly Christians with his rhetoric on the radio and even published a book titled, Jesus Christ, Money Master.  The 79-year-old Gallagher pleaded guilty and must pay more than $10 million in restitution…..Talk host Jon Patch celebrates 30 years on the radio hosting the syndicated “Talkin’ Pets” program.  The three-hour, weekly show is syndicated by GAB Network.  Patch says, “If you live life with a pet or just have a love for animals, then ‘Talkin’ Pets’ is the show for you.  We have many listeners who don’t even have pets since the show is always riveting, passionate, fun, and overall pure entertainment like no other pet show in the country.  This formula has worked for 30 years and we look forward to many more years to come.  Thanks to all of our affiliate stations coast to coast for their dedication to ‘Talkin’ Pets.’”…..NPR announces that Michael Smith joins the organization as chief marketing officer.  Smith was most recently SVP and general manager of digital channels for Scripps Network.  NPR president and CEO John Lansing says, “Michael is a strategic thinker and an extremely creative media executive who has spent his career finding new ways people consume content across an increasingly diverse audience population.  He is joining NPR at a time when we must extend the reach of our content beyond our traditional audiences to fully serve the American public and he is uniquely qualified to help us do so.”…..Pictured below is Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs giving blood in her home town of Las Vegas.  She says, “As you are aware, blood banks are in dire need of blood and they are asking whomever can brave it to donate without getting exposed.  Vitalant here ran a great ship today, keeping everyone at a distance as Nevada received today a ‘stay at home order.’”

U.S. Coronavirus Numbers and Death Toll, Financial Markets Activity, Recession Fears, Dr. Fauci Threatened, Churches Defying Anti-Gathering Policies, Russia Sends Supplies to U.S., and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus; economists express fears of a prolonged recession in the wake of the pandemic; director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci gets security because of threats; some churches in the South refusing to honor the non-gathering policy; Russia sends military plane with medical supplies to the U.S.; and Joe Biden calls for the postponement of the Democratic National Convention were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher and Former BS&T Lead Singer David Clayton-Thomas Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. In a rare “double feature,” two guests share the bill on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The podcast features conversations with two colorful communicators – each isolating at home during the coronavirus crisis. Each with a different political view of today’s world. First is Salem Radio Network conservative talk show host Mike Gallagher from his condo in Tampa, Florida where he broadcasts his daily show from a remote set up in his kitchen. That’s followed by well-known singer/songwriter, David Clayton-Thomas, former lead vocalist for Blood, Sweat & Tears, from his condo in Toronto, Canada. Clayton-Thomas has just released a powerfully, opinionated solo album of “protest songs” addressing a variety of today’s hottest issues from a liberal perspective. According to Harrison, “Both of these fine men, whom I’ve known over the decades, have a lot to say about the world and having them both appear on this installment of the program while isolating during the crisis creates a marvelous kind of symmetry.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Talkers Convention Postponed Until Friday, October 16. The 23rd annual presentation of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important annual gathering originally scheduled for Friday June 5 has been officially postponed until Friday, October 16 due to the coronavirus crisis. This year, the event – held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of TALKERS – is titled, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station, and will still take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. In announcing the change of date, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are hopeful and optimistic that the circumstances going forward will be conducive for an event of this nature to be feasible slightly more than a half year from now. We will do our best to hold together the agenda that we’ve already established, but are cognizant that, to a certain extent, we will be rebuilding it to conform to the specifics of the times and events that take place between now and then. If circumstances are such that this crisis continues through the second half of 2020, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. All paid registrations and sponsorships already accepted will be honored for the new date. However, we will cease all promotion and recruitment for new and additional speakers, sponsors and registrants until at least the first week of May out of respect for the urgency and priority this crisis presents to our industry’s dedicated, hard-pressed professionals.” For more information please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or email info@talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In New York City, Alex Roman is promoted to the newly created chief technology officer position for Mediaco’s hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban AC WBLS.  He rises from the director of integrated technology post in which he’s been serving since 2011.  Mediaco president and COO Patrick Walsh says, “Alex’s experience and insights are invaluable as we continue to build multichannel digital platforms for WBLS and ‘Hot 97.’  There simply is not anyone like him in our industry and I’m pleased that with this move to CTO we can count on Alex being an important part of our leadership team in the coming years.”…..Quibi announces that iHeartMedia becomes a partner of the new “Pop5” daily, music news show.  The program, produced by Mission Control Media, is hosted by Tim Kash.  It’s described as “a colorful collage of must-know information about pop music today.”  Launching April 6, “Pop5 by iHeartRadio” will premiere a new episode every weekday, as part of Quibi’s Daily Essentials programming…..iHeartMedia is hosting its first ever virtual book club in partnership with social retail platform talkshoplive as it celebrates the release of Alicia Keys’ book, More Myself: A Journey (2020, Flatiron Books), on April 10 at 5:00 pm ET.  The virtual book club will feature an intimate conversation between Alicia Keys and iHeartRadio on-air personality Angie Martinez.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

| February 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 26, 2016

| February 26, 2016

AlphaAlpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.

CBS Radio LogoWFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radioBrooklyn Nets Logo flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).

hyde, coreyHyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and Entercom_Communications_logohe brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”

baldwin, stephenBaldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.”  Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will mccullough, kevinimmediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”

WGN LogoFour More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio presidentNorthwestern Wildcats and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).

walter, maryLouisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on aWKRD regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).

Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than Cumulus Media Dallastwo weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.

BTC LogoBTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.

talkersten logoPresidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26.  Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists.  At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  View this week’s entire chart here.

fritts, eddieBFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognitionBroadcasters Foundation of America includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.

Cumulus 2Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.

cbsradio-logoCool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles.  TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070:  news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.

union edgeOdds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”

Thursday, February 18, 2016

| February 18, 2016

Presidential Race, Middle East Military Escalation, North and South Korea Tensions, Scalia Replacement Debate/Death Theories, Apple iPhone Hack Refusal, LA Hospital Records Hack Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17).  The activities of the candidates for president, including the South Carolina GOP Town Halls; Turkish clashes with Kurds in Iraq and the ongoing Syrian conflict; military tensions between North Korea and South Korea; debate over the proper process for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and theories about his cause of death; Apple’s refusal to create backdoor software to open the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists; and a Los Angeles hospital’s paying off hackers in bitcoin to receive the return of its medical records were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

carrollbillBill Carroll Lands at CFRA, Ottawa in AM Drive.  Less than two months after exiting his midday talk show at iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles and then announcing his departure from his afternoon gig at Corus’ CFMJ, Toronto, Bill Carroll is brought aboard at Bell Media’s CFRA, Ottawa to host “The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll.”  Joining him as co-host on the new show will be Tricia Owens.  Carroll arrives as Bell Media lets AM personality Mark Sutcliffe and evening hosts Ron Corbett, John Counsell, and Nick Vandergragt go.  The station also announces it’s bringing Brian Lilley on to host the evening program.  Both shows will launch on March 7.  Carroll comments, “My family had decided late last year that it was time to come home – what great timing that a legendary station like CFRA is making some changes.  I can’t wait to join the team in Ottawa and get started. And I hope the people of Ottawa will forgive my years of cheering the Kings and Leafs. I will adapt, slowly.”

ppmunitRound Two of January PPM Data Released.  The second of four rounds of January 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 December 31 – January 27.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Top Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

Odds & Sods.  A new interactive radio app has just been released for Salem Radio Network personality Ericmetaxaseric Metaxas.  Salem says the app – powered by Clip Interactive technology – is part of its mobile radio strategy.  Salem notes that the app enables fans to listen and interact with the show and its content.  Fans can directly connect with Eric in the studio using the app’s “call the studio” feature.  Additionally, the show is now able to quickly gather listener insights and opinions with the app’s real time polling and “talk back” features…..Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” announces the wkxwaddition of award-winning State House reporter Michael Symons to its staff as State House bureau chief.  Symons comes to New Jersey 101.5 from Gannett New Jersey, where he was a State House reporter.  New Jersey 101.5 VP and head of news and digital operations Eric Scott says, “Mike Symons is a tough, but fair reporter and investigator.  He will be a valuable asset for our news operation.”  Scott says Symons is one of the longest-tenured reporters currently covering New Jersey politics from the State House in Trenton.  He’s won awards for his work from the New Jersey Press Association and in 2004 he was a member of the Gannett New Jersey team that was awarded the prestigious Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting…..Tonight’s second-of-two GOP Town Hall Meetings in South Carolina will be produced by CNN with the radio feed being distributed by Westwood One.  CNN’s Anderson Cooper is moderating…..Thebensonchad Radio America-syndicated Chad Benson show is added to the lineup at CBS RADIO’s Las Vegas news/talker KXNT.  In addition to his regularly scheduled program, Benson has been offering extended live coverage of the Republican and Democratic debates as well as coverage of the caucuses and primaries.  Those special editions of the program are available to all current affiliates, as well as interested stations in markets where the show is not currently cleared.

bernierHagel16Talking National Security.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (right) talks national security with former United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (left) at Embry-Riddle Aeronautic University on Tuesday (2/16).  The Town Hall event was part of the ERAU Speaker Series.

Cool Job Opportunity.  Top 25 Market Seeks News Anchor.  Number one news team in a top-25 market has a rare opening in the afternoon.  We need someone who can ad-lib effortlessly, tell a great story, and ask the toughest questions of the biggest guests.  We also need someone who lives on social media, is super curious and can generate stories, ideas, and fresh ways at looking at recurring things.  Responsibilities include: News gathering and writing; Good understanding of national issues, quick learner on local issues; Follow social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc) for story leads and breaking news; Post stories on our own Website and Facebook sites; Generate unique news stories for the station; Plan stories for the next day and days in advance; Strong understanding of the English language and use of proper grammar; A willingness to quickly learn our news computer system and board operation.  Candidate should have 2 or more years’ experience in broadcast media.  Send materials to: Top25NewsAnchor@gmail.com.

Friday, February 12, 2016

| February 12, 2016

johnsonchrisJohnson Joins WTEM as PD. More accurately, as of next Monday (2/15), Chris Johnson will again occupy the programming chair at Red Zebra Broadcasting sports outlet WTEM “ESPN 980,” Washington, DC – just as he did from 2005 to 2008. Red Zebra Broadcasting chairman Terry Bateman states, “We are excited to have someone with Chris’ experience and skill to help us build and grow ‘ESPN 980.’ We have a great lineup of talent and great content. We look forward to putting it all together to give our listeners the best sports talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Most recently, Johnson covered MLB‘s Washington Nationals as a reporter for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. He previously was a producer of NFL and NCAA games for Westwood One; Johnson’s prior connection with WTEM lasted from 1996 – 2008. Down for the third straight ratings period (2.3 – 2.1 – 1.9 -1.6, 6+), “ESPN 980” finishes #20 in the “Holiday” 2015 report, while its format challenger – CBS Radio-owned WJFK-FM “The Fan” – also off for the third successive sweep (2.5 – 2.3 – 2.1 -1.9, 6+) – is #18. The market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH (5.9 – 6.1 – 7.0 – 12.0, 6+).

careytrevorTrevor Carey Promoted to Afternoons at ‘PowerTalk 96.7’ in Fresno.  Radio pro Trevor Carey had been hosting the afternoon drive show on iHeartMedia’s sister “PowerTalk” brand in the Stockton-Modesto market – “PowerTalk 1360” on KFIV and KWSX – in addition to hosting the 6:00 pm hour on “PowerTalk 96.7” (KALZ-FM and KRZR-AM in Fresno-Visalia).  Now, with Christopher Gabriel’s recent exit from the PM drive slot, Carey takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show.  He’ll also host the 6:00 pm hour on the Stockton-Modesto duo.

talkersten logoNew Hampshire Primary/Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 8-12.  Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the Hillary Clinton email case investigation.  Coming in at #3 was the recent financial markets activity and related concerns about a recession followed by the effects of the Syrian civil war at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and it is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

hannitySean Hannity to Speak and Host Breakfast at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations.  In what has become an annual talk media industry tradition, Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will host “Breakfast with Hannity” and preside over the opening keynote discussion at the forthcoming 19th annual installment of the field’s largest, longest-running and most important national convention.  In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Sean’s contributions to this storied event, as well as to the industry in general, are incalculable.  He has spearheaded discussions about crucial issues attendant to the ratings, consolidation, lowering the demos and free speech, just to scratch the surface.  He has provided inspiration and encouragement to new generations of broadcasters coming into the field.  When Sean walks in the door at this event, all politics are left outside and he becomes a true statesman of the business offering insight, experience and intelligence about the many issues and challenges we face in common.  We are delighted that he will again play such an important role in this conference – especially considering its forward-motion theme of bridging the generations.”  Over 60 outstanding speakers will participate in TALKERS 2016, set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

beasley logoBeasley Broadcast Group 2015 Q4 Net Revenue Up 6.2%.  That figure is based on Beasley’s reporting of combined operations – both continuing and discontinued operations – and that’s relative to the 2014 Q4 asset swap with CBS RADIO that saw Beasley exchange five radio stations in the Philadelphia and Miami-Fort Lauderdale markets for 14 CBS stations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Charlotte and Philadelphia markets.  Net revenue of combined operations for the wholebeasleygeorge of 2015 was $105.9 million, an increase of 4.4% over 2014.  Beasley CEO and chairman George Beasley states, “Throughout 2015 we implemented a broad range of operating, programming, sales and local strategies intended to extract operating and financial synergies from the stations acquired in the 2014 Asset Exchange.  I am pleased to report that we achieved our goal of our clusters outperforming the markets that report to Miller Kaplan for the first time in December 2015 and expect this trend to continue in 2016.  Success with our integration and profitability initiatives is also reflected in fourth quarter 2015 station operating income of $9 million and an SOI margin of 31.7%, as well as net income of $3.3 million or $0.14 per diluted share.”

cbsradio logoCBS RADIO Revenue Dips 5%.  Radio is not the primary focus of CBS Corp. but new CBS chairman, president and CEO Les Moonves has always said he likes the radio business – especially its cash flow.  Radio is lumped in with CBS Television Stations to make up the Local Broadcasting category, but the company breaks the two apart in these reports and radio’s revenue was down 5% on “continued softness in the radio advertising marketplace and lower political advertising.”  The television sector was down 11% compared to the same Q4 period in 2014 – a period that benefitted from mid-term election political spending.

Odds & Sods.  WOR, New York’s “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning” spoke on the radio with GOPbermanschnitt presidential candidate and fellow New Yorker Donald Trump yesterday morning (2/11).  Responding to criticism that he doesn’t have the temperament to be president, Trump told the WOR audience, “as we get closer, you will be shocked at how presidential I will carrollbillbe.”…..Talk host Bill Carroll had been doing an afternoon talk show for Corus-owned news/talk CFMJ, Toronto from Los Angeles while he was still working at iHeartMedia’s KFI (a gig he exited in early January).  Now, he’s also leaving the CFMJ show with rumors he’s soon to land at a new station in Canada…..A special edition of the Joan Hamburg show will air on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York this weekend as the Big Apple radio host covers New York’s annual Fashion Week.  For the second year, Hamburg speakshamburgjoan with New York’s fashion elite in “The Business of Fashion Week” airing on Saturday (2/13) from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ( a special replay will air Sunday night at 9:00 pm).  Hamburg speaks with New York Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis, “The Real Housewives of New York City” star Countess Luann de Lesseps, New York style icon Nick Wooster, Harpers Bazaar editor Avril Graham, and Ben Stiller, director and star of the Zoolander films…..AccuWeather appoints Sarah Katt vice president of product development and operations for the AccuWeather Network.  She’ll report to John Dokes, general manager of the AccuWeather Network and chief marketing officer of AccuWeather.

Friday, January 8, 2016

| January 8, 2016

carrollbillKFI’s Carroll Announces His Departure. With approximately 90 seconds remaining in Thursday’s (1/7) broadcast, KFI, Los Angeles midday talent Bill Carroll revealed he is leaving the iHeartMedia talk property effective immediately. In addition to sharing his reason for departing KFI (#9, 3.4, 6+, December 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM), Carroll implored his listeners to grant an election-day request. “Hey, I wanted to say one thing before I wrap up the show today,” CarrollKFI began, as he sought to “explain” his “cryptic New Year’s Day tweet” which many people asked him about on Facebook. “[My wife Sylvie and I] have been considering this for a while and we came to the conclusion that it is time to get closer to home.” Carroll’s father passed away in 2010; Scotland born/Canada raised Carroll joined KFI in February of that year. “I did not get to see him much,” he lamented. “My mother is older so we are leaving. We still do not know exactly where we are going to land [but] this is my last show – maybe we will talk again in the future.” That led Carroll to rhetorically ask, “Can you just do one final favor for me? For God sakes, when I am gone, do not elect Donald Trump. You are better than that. Do not let anger sweep you away. Do not elect Donald Trump. I came to live among you because I admire you for your graciousness, your openness, and your religious freedoms. Don’t elect Donald Trump – I am begging.” It is unclear how long it will be before KFI program director Robin Bertolucci names a permanent replacement for Carroll; apparently, several guest hosts will be utilized in the station’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm slot. Prior to his six-year KFI tenure, Carroll worked in Toronto at CILQ “Q-107,” and CFRB-AM. The 56-year-old Carroll appears at #47 on TALKERS’ 2015 “Heavy Hundred.”

talkersten logoObama ‘Guns’ Town Hall Top News/Talk Story of the Week.  Thursday night’s “town hall” on gun control presented by CNN and the White House along with President Obama’s announced plans to use executive power to alter some gun laws were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the presidential race.  Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State, followed by the Saudi Arabian and Iranian diplomatic break and the growing rift between Shiite and Sunni-majority Middle Eastern states 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.

wtmj logoWTMJ, Milwaukee to Present Special Program ‘Beyond Making a Murderer.’  The Netflix original program “Making a Murderer” is attracting large audiences across the country but in Wisconsin, where film subject Steven Avery is currently incarcerated, the case is now the subject of a special program to be presented this weekend on E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee.  The special, “Beyond Making a Murderer,” will present update coverage of the case of convicted murderer Avery.  The station says it has covered the Avery story since the beginning.  The Netflix seriesnetflixMaking has sparked a petition demanding a presidential pardon, curious tourists are traveling to Wisconsin, and critics are claiming there’s more to the story.  WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “The story of Steven Avery is not only a big story in our backyard but also a story of national significance.  WTMJ is Wisconsin’s Radio Station and we are leading the way with exclusive interviews and expanded local coverage to advance the story.”  This weekend, “Wisconsin’s Morning News” host Gene Mueller will anchor a two-hour special “WTMJ Presents: Beyond Making a Murderer” that will air on Saturday at 7:00 pm and on Sunday at 11:00 am, immediately prior to coverage of the Packers vs Redskins playoff game.  WTMJ executive producer of news Erik Bilstad will anchor coverage live from Manitowoc, Wisconsin with one-on-one interviews, videos and exclusive digital coverage.  WTMJ program manager Eric Brooks adds, “‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station’ is working to go beyond the documentary, to talk with the people involved in the case and give our audience updated information.  We are talking with family members, justices, jurors, law enforcement, and prosecutors to learn everything new we can.  WTMJ is providing content for not only our Wisconsin audience, but for those interested worldwide.”

price howardRadio’s Hot New (Old) Format: ‘The Puddle.’  In an opinion piece published today (1/8), ABC Television director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes about the sensational amount of global interest in Periscope’s “The Puddle” – a camera shot at a puddle of water in the U.K.  Price says the people watching the puddle on their smartphones have “rediscovered the magic of radio…If you really believe all radio is local – and GREAT local radio is all about making compelling content out of the everyday events and observations in the communities it serves — then ‘the puddle’ can be seen as a metaphor for what radio’s core mission has always been, and which it used to execute better than any other medium.”  Read his entire piece here.

kiblerkellyKibler Named iHeartMedia’s EVP Multi-Cultural Marketing. Executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia‘s Texas major markets Kelly Kibler is appointed executive vice president of multi-cultural marketing. According to iHeartMedia chair and chief executive officer Bob Pittman, “Kelly has been a constant innovator in this company. She is the perfect choice to head up our focused multi-cultural advertising efforts at the market level. Her success as executive vice president of operations, as well as in her role as a sales leader and market president and her leadership of numerous iHeartMedia initiatives, have enabled her to grow her career with us. We look forward to her using all of her experience and relationships to build this new capability for our company.” The bilingual Kibler comments, “I could not be more excited to take on this new position at iHeartMedia, using the tools and experience we’ve developed in Texas and applying them across our 150 markets in a space that continues to grow in both importance and footprint across America.” Kibler began her career in 1991 at Telemundo. Before becoming iHeartMedia’s executive vice president of operations for the company’s major markets in Texas, she was a market president in Dallas, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

emmis logoEmmis Confirms Layoffs; Executive Pay Cuts.  After a fiscal third quarter report that showed a 5.1% drop in radio net revenue, Emmis Communications is confirming that it has laid off 32 company staffers and instituted pay cuts for corporate senior executives.  During the recent conference call with investors, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan stated, “We’ve made some changes and they’re very painful changes.  This is always very, very hard for us.”  The moves are designed to trim some $5.3 million from the radio sector’s budget.

kidRich Broadcasting Adds Three Signals to News/Talk KID, Idaho Falls.  The announced expansion of Rich Broadcasting’s heritage news/talk KID, Idaho Falls will expand the reach of the station within the Idaho Falls market and some 90 miles east to the Jackson, Wyoming market.  The company says, beginning Monday, KID “Newsradio” will be heard on KQEZ-FM in Idaho Falls and to KSGT-AM, Jackson and translator K242BU at 96.3 in the Jackson market.  KID, Idaho Falls is also simulcast on KIDG-FM, Pocatello, Idaho.  Rich Broadcasting president Richard Mecham says, “KID has served the eastern Idaho market since 1928 and we are both pleased and excited to substantially expand its impact and coverage with the addition of three more frequencies, which not only will substantially expand its geographical reach but also, and very significantly, will enhance its nighttime coverage.  With the addition of 106.3 FM, it now will be heard regionally from Ashton to Pocatello.  Additionally, we are very pleased to expand the KID brand into the Teton County radio market, and in the process enhance the synergy between the eastern Idaho and Jackson markets. We look forward to providing to our listeners the very best in news and information for years to come.”

cookeCES16hashtagCES 2016 Wrap Up.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report from Las Vegas where this week he’s been attending the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show.  Today he writes about the ubiquitous phone camera, drones, the head-on challenges facing television, and new technologies that are doing what radio stations traditionally helped people do.  Read Holland Cooke’s entire report here.

Odds & Sods.  The digital production field and studio tool suite Control Room Pro is now being used at stations including CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York; Bonneville’s WTOP-FM, Washington; iHeartmedia’s WIOD, Miami;rosenbergsid and news/talk WHO-AM and sports KXNO-AM in Des Moines,  The suite of tools is produced by Harris Media and is repped by AdLarge Media…..Next Thursday and Friday (1/14-15), (and for the second time in the last three weeks!) Sid Rosenberg and “Imus in the Morning” executive producer Bernard McGuirk are sitting in for “Curtis & Kuby” co-hosting the midday show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York.

pittmanbobPittman to Receive BFoA Golden Mike Award. Jackson, Mississippi native Bob Pittman began his radio career at the age of 15 and the iHeartMedia chair/chief executive officer is set to be honored with the Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s 2016 “Golden Mike” award. Broadcasters Foundation vice chair Dan Mason declares, “Bob is an extraordinary broadcaster. As an architect of today’s iHeartMedia, Bob’s focus on innovation – and his deep belief in broadcast radio – has expanded radio into new areas and platforms. We are proud to recognize his contributions to broadcasting.” Pittman states that, “Radio reaches more Americans than any other medium. [It is] the best friend in the seat next to them and their trusted companion and information source across multiple platforms. I feel extremely fortunate to be in broadcasting during the most exciting time in our industry’s history. I am grateful to theBroadcasters Foundation of America Broadcasters Foundation for this honor, and I thank them for their deep commitment to supporting our broadcast colleagues in their times of need.” Pittman programmed WMAQ, Chicago and famously became program director at WNBC, New York at the age of 23. Also included on his impressive, extensive resume is being co-founder/programmer of the team that created MTV; CEO of MTV Networks; AOL Networks; Six Flags Theme Parks; Quantum Media; Century 21 Real Estate; and Time Warner Enterprises. He was chief operating officer of America Online and later of AOL Time Warner. Pittman was named one of Advertising Age‘s “10 Marketers Who Changed American Culture”; received the Robert F. Kennedy “Ripple of Hope” award; and he was named one of LIFE Magazine‘s “Five Original Thinkers of the 1980s.” He will receive his “Golden Mike” award next month (2/29) at New York City’s Plaza Hotel.

poebobBroadcaster Poe Declares Congressional Candidacy. Former Florida Democratic Party chair Bob Poe made his intentions official yesterday (Thursday, 1/7) that he is seeking to represent Florida’s 10th congressional district, which is based in west Orlando. The 61-year-old Poe comments that, “Many people are aware that I’ve been blessed with a tremendous amount of success in my life – but what most people don’t know is that my success had some humble beginnings. I come from this community. I became successful because of what I learned in this community, and I think I bring a very different perspective of how we grow the economy. I didn’t graduate from college, but I built a technology business that I’m proud of and that keeps people safe, because I never quit. Too many politicians today are too busy playing the game of musical chairs – running for one office and then another – to truly stand up and fight for us.” Prior to a nine-year run as president of Emergency Communications Network, Poe spent three years as vice president and general manager of WMMO, Orlando; four years as director of broadcasting and sponsorship sales for the NBA‘s Orlando Magic; and 12 years as vice president and general manager of Orlando talk station WKIS and the Florida Radio Network.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

| May 12, 2015

usaRadioNetworks‘Washington Watch with Tony Perkins’ to Air on USA Radio Networks.  Another afternoon program is added to the roster at USA Radio Networks as it announces “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” begins airing on the network on June 8 live from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council and a former member of the Louisiana legislature.  Perkins also serves as the president of the Council for National Policy an umbrellaperkinstony organization for dozens of conservative organizations that address fiscal, social, and foreign policy issues.  He says about joining USA Radio Networks, “I’m excited to join the USA Radio Networks at such a critical time for our nation.  ‘Washington Watch’ is uniquely positioned in the heart of our nation’s capital to provide daily interviews from Capitol Hill with political and conservative leaders.  Radio has only become more important to our mission to keep God-fearing Americans informed and equipped to respond to the policy and cultural challenges of our day.  We are excited to partner with USA Radio Networks as we advance faith, family and freedom across America.”  Tim Maranville is chief content officer at Cross Platform Media Group, parent company to USA Radio Networks.  He says, “Tony Perkins has been a prominent voice in Washington for years with the Family Research Council.  The important issues he brings will now be available for discussion and debate in the open market through USA Radio Networks.”

le batard danDan Le Batard Show to Simulcast on Fusion.  According to TVNewser, ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” will begin being simulcast on May 19 at 4:00 pm ET.  Fusion – a multi-platform, joint endeavor from Disney-ABC Television and Univision – debuted in the fall of 2013 and targets millennial consumers.  Fusion’s chief programming officer Wade Beckett is quoted by TVNewser saying, “Dan and Stugotz are an extremely engaging pair, and we are thrilled that they are bringing their unique flare to Fusion daily line-up.  Dan’s smart-yet-irreverent take on sports and the stories making headlines perfectly aligns with Fusion’s desire to present this young, diverse generation with an array of dynamic voices that have an authentic point of view and, at the end of the day, are just are fun to watch.”

rtdna logoRTDNA Reports on Social Media and Mobile Strategies for Radio News Operations.  The third edition of a series of reports from Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper – whose data comes from the annual survey of radio and television news directors – investigates newsrooms’ use of social media and mobile applications.  Among the questionspapperbob answered by the approximately 150 news directors who responded to the survey include: What’s the most important new thing you started doing with social media in 2014?  Almost 49% of radio news directors reported doing something new in social media in 2014.  In underscoring the importance of developing mobile apps for news consumers, Papper points out that 55% of news directors mentioned apps compared to the next most popular answer – streaming, at 11%.  The RTDNA will be releasing new reports every two weeks through July.  See the whole report here.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases First Round of April 2015 PPM Data.  The first of four rounds of April 2015 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 April 2015 survey period covered March 26 through April 22.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Engages in Stimulating Conversations with Rebecca Costa and Buzz Aldrin on New Podcast.  TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison presents a “double header” on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” as he interviews two provocative thinkers on the connection between human evolution and the species’ chances of survival.  The podcast opens with Harrison in conversation with a personality he describes as “one of the most intelligent voices in talk radio today,” sociobiologist Rebecca Costa.  Costa, a renowned author, speaker and consultant, hosts radio’s weekly “Costa Report” – a nationalcostarebeccaposed weekend talk show syndicated by GCN, in which she interviews thought leaders with an eye on the future from a wide spectrum of fields and disciplines.  Costa, author of the worldwide best-seller, The Watchman’s Rattle (Vanguard, 2010), says the human brain needs to evolve if it has a chance of coping with the increasingly complex nature of society and its technological/information-generating systems.  She calls for humanity rising above the traits it shares with lower animals (“the lower instruments of our aldrinbuzzgenetic inheritance”) to be able to enter an age of cooperation and enlightenment, vital to its survival, by tapping into the evolutionary advantages offered by the brain’s frontal cortex.  In part-two of the podcast, Harrison engages legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a discussion about the Apollo moonwalker’s new book, Mission to Mars (National Geographic, 2015) in which he encourages humanity to begin planning its future as being more than a “one-planet species” – an evolutionary step he believes necessary for humanity’s long-term survival.  To listen to Rebecca Costa and Buzz Aldrin on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.  Archived interviews currently available for download at www.upcloseandfarout.com in the “Up Close and Far Out” series include Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Dr. Joy Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Sciacca, Christopher Ruddy, Norm Pattiz, Alan Colmes, and Steve Weisman.

wddz logoSalem Media Group to Unveil ‘AM 1250 The Answer’ in Pittsburgh.  The station acquired from Disney – WDDZ, Pittsburgh – becomes the latest Salem-owned AM news/talk to assume the brand “The Answer.”   In addition to airing the Salem Radio Network lineuptennentrose of talk hosts, local news/talk personality Rose Tennent – formerly with partner Jim Quinn on crosstown WPGB-FM – is signed on for a local morning show that will air from 8:00 am to 10:00 am.  The rest of the schedule is: Bill Bennett, 6:00 am to 8:00 am; Mike Gallagher, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Dennis Prager, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Michael Medved, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; and Hugh Hewitt, 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  Salem general manager Tom Lemmon comments, “Pittsburgh deserves a news/talk station that reflects the conservative, hard-working heart and soul of its people.  We’re thrilled to have an opportunity to provide an intelligent, sensible, conservative voice to the market.  We want to be a station that tackles solid local and national issues with an intelligent opinion committed to truth and integrity.

focus 360 logoWYD Media and Focus 360 Announce Partnership.  Saying that this agreement “significantly extends the reach of Focus 360‘s sales efforts and its ability to provide top-shelf service to agencies,” Focus 360 and WYD Media Ad Sales announce a new partnership.  The deal provides for WYD to provide enhanced ad sales representation for Focus 360.   Focus 360 CEO Phil Brown explains, “This is a tremendous opportunity for us to extend our sales efforts.  WYD’s resources and sales talent will enable us to increase our presence at key agencies, thereby boosting revenue and enabling us to do an even better job at servicing our partners.”  Brown says Focus 360 will continue to work directly with certain agencies where the company has long-standing relationships.  Focus 360 also will continue to build its Jelli programmatic advertising platform.

Odds & Sods.  There’s a new all-comedy station as Austin Radio Network flips its Gospel-formatted KLGO, Austin and re-brands it “Comedy 1260 AM.”…..The Georgia Association of Broadcasters kicked off its second annual Radio Talent Institute at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, as the opening Institute this summer from the National Radio Talent System.  The GAB sponsors the Institute, now in its second year, with further support from Cox Media Group.  Twenty-five students from Georgia schools with a “desire and passion for broadcasting” were accepted into the program.  Opening day speakers included Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey, Cox Media VP Scott Smith, and Cox EVP Kim Guthrie, to name a few.  Numerous other radio pros are speaking and teaching courses.

davislaurenCFRA, Toronto News Anchor Lauren Davis Dies Suddenly at 24.  Condolences are pouring in to the family, friends and co-workers of Lauren Davis, who died unexpectedly at age 24 over the weekend.  Davis was a news anchor on CFRA, Toronto.  She’s the daughter of longtime CHFI, Toronto personality Erin Davis.  Lauren Davis’ husband Phil Shirakawa also works at CFRA as a producer.  Lauren Davis was on maternity leave after giving birth to her son Colin last fall.  Bell Media regional vice president Richard Gray issued the following statement, “Lauren’s sudden passing was a shock to our CFRA and Bell Media staff here in Ottawa.  We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lauren, who had just become a mom in the last year.  We also want to extend our deepest sympathies to Lauren’s husband, Phil Shirakawa, who is a producer with us here at CFRA.  Lauren will be deeply missed by her family and the many colleagues here who knew her so well.”

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 Nearing Maximum Capacity.  Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be sold out sometime this week.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.”   Casey continues, “There will be no registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT this Friday May 15, IF NOT SOONER.  Friday at 5:00 pm Eastern will be the absolute cut off point… but we cannot guarantee that we won’t run out of room earlier.”  The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district.  It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm.  Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities.  The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit.  Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card.  They are not refundable or transferable.  For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest agenda, please click here.

wccr logoEWTN Launches Programming on Cleveland Affiliate.  Catholic broadcaster EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network debuts its programming on WCCR, Cleveland “AM 1260 The Rock.”  The Cleveland station, which launched on Monday, May 11, becomes EWTN Radio’s 300th affiliate in the United States.  St. Peter The Rock Media acquired the former WWMK from Radio Disney Group, LLC.  EWTN Radio general manager Dave Vacheresse says, “We are grateful to all the folks at St. Peter The Rock Media who have worked so hard to make this station a reality!  EWTN Radio is the beneficiary of incredible partnerships like this all over the U.S. and around the world.  These partnerships, combined with the cooperation and blessings of bishops across the U.S., has led to a growth rate of nearly 250% in the last five years – from 120 stations to over 400 and growing!”

Michelle Obama ‘Racism’ Commencement, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Freddie Gray Death Aftermath, Obama Trade Bill Issue, Arctic Drilling Approved, NATO Expels Alleged Russian Spies, Clinton Email Suit Reopened, and Deflategate Sanctions Announced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11).  Criticism of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “racism” commencement address at Tuskegee University; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the legal and political aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore; the controversial trade bill being pushed by President Obama; the approval by the Obama Administration to allow oil drilling in the Arctic; the expelling from Brussels of alleged Russian spies by NATO; the lawsuit seeking to force Hillary Clinton to turn over private emails is reopened by a judge; and the NFL issues a fine for the Patriots and four-game suspension for Tom Brady in the “deflategate” case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 17, 2015

| April 17, 2015

shannonseanShannon Succeeds Pinch at Cumulus Atlanta. Former vice president and market manager for Entercom Sacramento – Sean Shannon – is tapped to replace Jon Pinch in a similar position at Cumulus Atlanta. Cumulus senior vice president Jeff Brown comments, “Sean has a track record of innovation and topnotch results. He is a passionate marketer and a strong, determined coach. We are excited to be adding Sean to our talented team in Atlanta.” Shannon remarks, “I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead these world-class brands in this world-class city. I love this medium and am honored topinchjon have a chance to lead this team.” Prior to his Sacramento duties, Shannon, who holds an MBA from the Foster School at the University of Washington, was director of sales for Entercom Seattle. He begins his new assignment in Atlanta next Monday (4/20).  Pinch announced his retirement on April 16.  He retired from his previous corporate role at Cumulus five months ago but was coaxed into leading the company’s Atlanta station group.

dennisjohnWEEI-FM, Boston Morning Host John Dennis to Enter Alcohol Rehab.  In a public statement released to the media, morning personality John Dennis announces he will take time away from the “Dennis & Callahan” show on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston in order to enter a treatment facility for alcohol addiction.  Here’s the text of his statement: “After some long and thoughtful soul searching, I’ve decided to deal with a personal issue once and for all.  The role of alcohol in my life is something I’ve weei logowrestled with on and off for more than a few years.  I’ve made the decision to take serious steps to eliminate the role alcohol plays in my life before it impacts my health.  I’m told it’s an arduous undertaking, but it’s one I’m willing to embrace.  I know it can be a lifelong battle, but it’s one I want to fight.  To that end, I’ve decided to take some time away from WEEI, tackle this head-on, and set a smart and informed course for a long and healthy life.  I want to thank the management at WEEI for their understanding and assistance in this matter, Gerry (Callahan) and Kirk (Minihane) for their unwavering support, and of course Kathy, for her love, patience and compassion.  This is the last I will speak on this matter, as I have much work to do, and that’s where my concentration and focus will be. Talk to you all down the road.”

ppmunit altNielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data.  The fourth and final round of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25.  You can find the complete 6+ ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

Odds & Sods.  Longtime Chicago television news anchor Robin Robinson has been hired by CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM, Chicago.  Robinson spent more than 30 working in television news in the Chicago market.  She exitedrobinsonrobin WFLD-TV “Fox 32” in November of 2013…..There’s a new news presence at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media the company hires regional news pro Matt Pitta to serve as news director for the station group.  In this role, Pitta will be in charge of news content for all the radio stations and its CapeCod.com website.  Pitta previously worked for Cape Cod Broadcasting, exiting back in 2002.  He takes over for Laura Reckford who moves up to news editor at CapeCod.com…..A programming change at Cumulus Media’s nbcsportsradio logoKSCR-AM, Eugene, Oregon will eliminate the business talk format and begin airing a regional Mexican format…..NBC Sports Radio now has a place on SirusXM.  A deal between the sports talk network and the satcaster gives the former its own channel.  NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver says, “We are thrilled to have SiriusXM join our roster.  They bring a whole new audience and a wealth of avid sports fans who can now access our content and interact with our hosts no matter where they are around the country.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “The Costa Report” with host Rebecca Costa adds six new affiliatecostarebeccaposed stations including: WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; WBCF, Florence, Alabama; WHFS, Tampa; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and KKGM, Dallas-Fort Worth…..Both the Stephanie Miller show and Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” are added to the program schedule at KJOZ, Houston.  WYM Media Management’s, Debbie Greenbaum comments, “It’s terrific that Houstonians will now be able to listen and interact daily with both Doug Stephan and Stephanie Miller.  The combo of ‘Good Day’ leading into the Stephanie Miller show is the perfect way to kick off mornings in Houston.”

talkersten logo2016 Presidential Prospects Top News/Talk Story During Week of April 13-17.  With the news of both Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio announcing their intent to run for president next year, the chatter about the 2016 presidential prospects landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week.  At #2 were the Iran nuclear negotiations.  Coming in at #3 was ISIS military action in Iraq and following at #4 was Obama’s Cuba policy.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on the 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.

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