Tag: "Traug Keller"

Thursday, August 29, 2019

| August 29, 2019

Good Karma Brands Inks Deal to Operate ESPN’s WMVP-AM, Chicago. Yesterday’s announcement by sports talk radio WMVP-AM owner ESPN that Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands would begin operating “ESPN 1000” beginning next month took the industry by surprise.  But as ESPN Audio SVP Traug Keller says, Karmazin’s company has a long track record with ESPN.  “Good Karma has proven to be an excellent local affiliate that has shown expertise in local media operations and sales while being a strong steward of the ESPN brand.”  Keller adds, “This is a smart business decision that allows us to continue to serve local sports fans with the compelling content they crave.”  As a result of this long-term LMA between ESPN Radio and Good Karma, the latter will “expand its affiliate relationship with ESPN Radio and the station will retain the ‘ESPN 1000’ name.  ESPN Radio Chicago will feature a lineup of local and national sports talk programming and ESPN Radio’s national play-by-play lineup that includes NBA, MLB, NFL and college football, including the College Football Playoff.”  The LMA begins on September 29.  Longtime ‘ESPN 1000’ VP and general manager Jim Pastor will exit his role.  He says, “Few people will ever match the experience I’ve had over 27 incredible years with Disney, including the last 15 with ESPN.  I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished at ‘ESPN 1000’ or be more supportive of the decision to affiliate with Good Karma.  Walking away now becomes infinitely easier knowing [Good Karma Brands president] Steve Politziner, Craig Karmazin, and the rest of the Good Karma team will be running the show.  For me, I’m ready to dial it back, spend more time with the family and go back to sitting in the cheap seats.”  Craig Karmazin – whose company also owns operates ESPN-affiliated stations in Cleveland, Madison, Milwaukee, and West Palm Beach – says, “Our Midwest roots have afforded us the opportunity to see the passion of Chicago sports fans up close for over two decades.  We are so excited to extend our commitment to being ESPN’s best-in-class local operator into what will now be our largest market.”  ESPN Audio continues to operate WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles.

WJBC, Bloomington’s Laughlin Retires; Miller Takes Over AM Drive Show. At Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJBC, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, longtime morning personality Scott Laughlin is retiring from the station and afternoon drive personality Scott Miller will take over as morning drive host. Miller – who inked a new, multi-year deal with the company – will work with news director Katherine Murphy on the morning show.  Back in May, Laughlin announced he was taking a leave of absence from the WJBC morning show for health reasons.  He has since decided to make his leave permanent.  He says, “I had planned to retire next summer.  My circumstances have speeded up that plan.”  Station operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We wish nothing but the best for Scott Laughlin as he focuses on his health.  Emotionally, it’s not easy to move forward in a situation like this, but we must.  We look forward to having Scott Miller in the morning and know he will do a great job.” The station is searching for a new afternoon talk host.

‘FOX Sports 910’ in Phoenix Makes Drive Time Changes; Dan Sileo Joins for Afternoons. Beginning Tuesday (9/3), iHeartMedia’s KGME, Phoenix “FOX Sports 910” is moving afternoon drive personality Jody Oehler’s “The Drive” program to the 5:00 am to 10:00 am daypart, replacing FOX Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick.  The station says that Oehler’s “‘The Drive’ has brought a signature blend of truth, humor and originality to the Phoenix airwaves.  Throughout the run of the show, Oehler has had some of the biggest names in sports on-air regularly, including: Donovan McNabb, Jake Plummer, Ian Rapoport, Kent Somers, and Greg Amsinger, as well as everyone’s favorite radio segment, ‘Top 5 Thursday,’ which ranks the top five sports stories every Thursday.”  Oehler says, “I’m incredibly excited to be moving to mornings. In a city like Phoenix with all the local teams and transplant residents, I relish the opportunity to offer my reaction to the biggest local and national sporting events.  We’ll do it better than anyone in the market with truth, humor, and fun.  And as a bonus, I won’t get into a near fist fight with myself on the air.”  The station is expected to announce its plans for the afternoon drive daypart very soon. Taking over the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot is sports talk host Dan Sileo, most recently with Entercom at KWFN-FM, San Diego “97.3 The Fan.”  The station says Sileo’s show “will feature engaging sports talk with features such as ‘Cardinals Rewind,’ where Sileo analyzes the Cardinals by recapping the biggest hits and misses from each game, and ‘Stump Sileo,’ a daily segment where listeners have the opportunity to challenge Sileo to a game of six degrees of separation, in which Sileo has to find a way to connect himself to the listener’s favorite sports icon.”  Sileo says, “It’s an honor to come home to iHeartMedia, where I spent the majority of my 24-year radio career, for this amazing opportunity to host afternoons on ‘FOX Sports 910.’  I will promise my listeners this – we will have the most compelling sports show in The Valley.  It will be a show for Phoenix, about Phoenix.  We’re going to bring on the biggest stars in sports and entertainment and give listeners a show they’ll never forget.”

WLAC, Nashville Host Steve Gill Remains in Jail; ‘Terrified’ Wife Files for Divorce. More legal woes arise for embattled WLAC, Nashville talk radio host Steve Gill, who remains in jail in Williamson County, Tennessee for failure to pay $170,000 in child support to ex-wife Kathryn Gill.  Now, Gill’s current wife – who is not named by The Tennessean in its report since she’s under an order of protection from the court – is filing for divorce from Gill and told the court in her request for the order, “I need protection.  I am terrified.  He is ‘influenced’ and ‘powerful’ and he used that to try to keep me from escaping.”  As a witness in Gill’s child support case, she testified that he was lying under oath in court.  The court has ordered Gill not to contact his current wife; to stay away from her home and workplace; to vacate the family home; undergo a certified batterers’ intervention program; and cannot possess any firearms (the order notes he has numerous weapons).

Palm Springs Morning Host Bill Feingold Off the Air for Cancer Treatment. Coachella Valley morning drive personality Bill Feingold is on medical leave from Alpha Media’s news/talk brand “K-News” – KNWZ-AM/KNWQ-AM/K232CX/K274DA – after being diagnosed with stage four liver cancer.  Feingold tells the Desert Sun that he’s aware of the gravity of his diagnosis but is hopeful he can return to the air after undergoing chemotherapy, which begins on September 12.  He and co-host Kevin Holmes have been together on the radio in Palm Springs since 2004.  Feingold says, “Alpha Media is hoping for a semi-miracle so I can come back.  I would come back in a second.”

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit journalist Bankole Thompson is returning to Kevin Adell-run WFDF-AM, Detroit “910AM Superstation” to host the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program, beginning September 9.  Previously, the Detroit News columnist hosted the program, “Redline,” on the station.  Thompson says, “I’m happy to be back at ‘910AM Superstation’ and I’m looking forward to making Detroit’s recovery and poverty the front and center of our conversation.”…..The conservative Christian K-Star Talk Radio Network announces it is adding independent journalist and radio host Will Johnson’s newly syndicated talk radio program, “Fire Power News,” to its 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot, effective September 9.   K-Star program director Angeline Marie says, “I am so excited to add Will Johnson’s program to the K-Star schedule.  He is young, energetic, intelligent, and really passionate about making a difference.”…..Entravision Communications announces it’s bringing listeners “the most extensive Spanish-language radio broadcast coverage” of the upcoming 2019 NFL Centennial season.  The company will broadcast 46 games across 17 U.S. markets on its owned-and-operated stations, as well as on affiliate stations across the country.  Entravision president and COO Jeffrey Liberman says, “The start of the NFL season is always exciting and this year we’re especially proud to have the most extensive Spanish radio broadcast coverage of the NFL. The game of football has really found a home in the Latino market and there are more passionate NFL fans than ever.”…..Actors Gabrielle Carteris and Camryn Manheim have been chosen by SAG-AFTRA’s national membership to fulfill the respective roles of president and secretary-treasurer, two of the union’s highest ranking offices.  Their two-year terms begin today.

Legendary Radio Executive Dwight Case Dies at 90.  Earlier this month, Dwight Case – onetime publisher of Radio & Records and general manager of KHJ, Los Angeles – died at the age of 90. Case started in radio in 1948 KFRE-AM, Fresno.  During his long career, he also managed KROY, Sacramento; served as president of RKO’s radio division; founded Transtar Satellite Radio Network; and served as publisher and CEO of R&R from 1983-1987.  Read more at LARadio.com.

Trump vs the Media, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-China Trade War, Queen Suspends UK Parliament, Jessi Combs Dies in Crash, and Hurricane Dorian Heads for Florida Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28). The president’s renewed frustration with the media’s coverage of his presidency; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the war of tariffs between the U.S. and China; the Queen agrees to suspend the UK Parliament; driver and television personality Jessi Combs dies trying to set a land speed record; and Hurricane Dorian’s projected path toward Florida were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Media executive Winter Horton joins Meruelo Media as chief operating officer, reporting to president and CEO Otto Padron.   Horton was most recently COO for LBI Media Inc.  Padron says, “Meruelo Media has enjoyed extraordinary growth in the past few months.  The task to solidify our L.A. super cluster position and continue our expansion is my highest priority.  To achieve this, I’m proud to announce the addition of Winter Horton as our chief operating officer.  Winter brings a wealth of experience and a unique skill set to help us create even greater value as we optimize our strategy of growth.”…..Cumulus Media’s rock WNDX, Indianapolis “93.9X” announces that Abe Kanan takes over as morning drive personality, effective September 3.  Kanan has served with stations including WLUP-FM and WKQX in Chicago and WBGG in Miami, as well as on the Howard 101 channel on SiriusXM.  He says, “If I could create my own radio station, it would sound just like ‘93.9X.’ In 2019, this is exactly how a rock station should sound.  I am beyond excited and honored to be chosen as the first morning show host on the soon-to-be world-famous 93.9X!”…..SummitMedia names Sheba Foxx news & community affairs director for the Greenville, South Carolina cluster.  Foxx takes over for Rhonda Rawlings who left the position to serve as South Carolina media rep for Cory Booker’s presidential campaign…..Alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” morning personality Dinah Powers is leaving the station’s Rod Ryan show after Friday’s broadcast.  She tells the Houston Chronicle that she elected not to renew her contract and is leaving the radio business and hopes to go back to school and work in the mental health field…..After 62 years in the same Takoma Park, Maryland location, Washington Adventist University’s WGTS-FM, Washington, DC celebrates the grand opening of its new broadcast ministry center in Rockville, Maryland.  The new 13,000 square-foot facility contains two identical on-air studios, three production rooms and a television studio.  It replaces the 3,000 square-foot World War II-era building that has served as the headquarters of the ministry since 1957…..Former, longtime WDVE, Pittsburgh air personality Jack Maloy died yesterday (8/28).  Maloy spent 36 years on the air at the iHeartMedia rock outlet, mostly in overnights.  The station says Maloy loved the shift so much that when he was promoted to the evening show, he was miserable and requested to return to the overnight show where he stayed until his retirement in 2013.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

| July 2, 2019

Mapleton Communications Sells 37 Stations in Seven Markets to Stephens Media Group. This is an exit from the radio business for California-based, Jim Shea-led Mapleton Communications.  The price for the 37 stations in Medford, Oregon; Merced, Monterey, and Redding, California; Spokane, Washington; and Alexandria and Monroe, Louisiana was not revealed in the press release.  But, with Mapleton previously agreeing to sell KSFN-AM, San Francisco and its Chico, California stations to Bustos Media, it will have divested of all of its radio assets.  The buyer in this transaction is Oklahoma-based Stephens Media Group, led by David Stephens.  Stephens begins operating the stations immediately under an LMA.  Stephens Media owns stations in Tulsa and Ardmore, Oklahoma; Watertown, Ogdensburg, Massena, and Rochester, New York; and Yakima and the Tri-Cities in Washington.  Several news/talk and sports talk stations are involved, including KYOS-AM, Merced; KQMS-FM and KNRO-AM in Redding; KCMX-AM in Medford; and KGA-AM in Spokane. You can see Mapleton’s stations here. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

KMOX Promotes Amy Marxkors to Daily On-Air Role. Effective immediately, Amy Marxkors begins a regular on-air role with Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis joining station institution Charlie Brennan as a co-host of the “Total Information AM Overdrive” Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 am to 9:00 am and will stay on the air for “The Charlie Brennan Show” from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Marxkors joined the station in 2018 as a sports reporter and host.  Prior to joining Entercom, she served as co-host of the St. Louis Blues weekly hockey show “Chili’s Week in Hockey” in 2016, that aired on KMOX.  She joined the Blues radio broadcast in 2017 and became the first woman to host the pre- and post-game of a radio broadcast for any St. Louis professional sports team in February 2019.  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “Amy is a rising star in radio and has shown tremendous growth on air while covering everything from the Blues Stanley Cup run to discussing local and national issues during our long-form talk shows.  She has a very bright future and I’m looking forward to the impact she can make on KMOX.”  In addition to her role on the morning show, Marxkors will continue to cover the St. Louis Blues and the National Hockey League by hosting a weekly hockey podcast.

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continues Posting Today with Lee Habeeb of “Our American Stories” Delivering Official Welcoming Address.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s post presents the convention’s official opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by one of the industry’s great storytellers, Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the tremendously successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories.” The first two videos already posted today are of RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

News and News/Talk Radio Analysis. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an assessment of “the temperature of spoken-word stations as a complete entity in all 48 PPM-markets.”  Formats involved in this report are news/talk, all-news (including business or financial news), and public radio news/talk.  As this report is based on Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys, the rating metric is weekly, 6+ AQH share from subscribing stations.  Looking at the May PPM survey, the #1 market for news and news/talk is Washington, DC.  On the strength of Hubbard’s all-news WTOP-FM, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, and American University’s public radio news/talk WAMU-FM, the format garnered a 22.7 share in May.  Rounding out the top three markets are Milwaukee and San Francisco.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Sources in Philadelphia tell TALKERS magazine that news/talk WPHT program director Jared Hart has exited Entercom.  We’ve reached out to Entercom Philadelphia for confirmation but have not yet heard back…..In addition to his work as a nationally syndicated talk show host for the Salem Radio Network, Hugh Hewitt also serves as president of the Richard Nixon Foundation.  In that capacity, he announces two coming events being held at the library in Yorba Linda, California centered around the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969.  On July 20, the “Earth to Moon: The Longest Distance Phone Call in History” celebration will commemorate Nixon’s call to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the surface of the moon.  Nixon White House officials Dwight Chapin, Larry Higby, and John Price – who were with Nixon the night he made the historic call will be in attendance.  Then, on July 23, the library will present the “Splashdown Celebration” with Dr. Buzz Aldrin to honor the legendary Apollo moonwalker…..ESPN’s annual ESPYS Auction benefiting the V Foundation for Cancer Research is again teaming up with eBay for Charity for its 15th year.  Bidding for the 80-plus VIP packages and experiences is now available on eBay and will remain open through July 10.  Senior vice president of ESPN Audio Traug Keller says, “Everyone at ESPN Radio is beyond proud to have played a role in raising funds for cancer research with the ESPYS Auction the last 15 years.  Seeing the support from fans bidding on experiences or directly donating to the V Foundation is truly something unique and special.”…..The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” program reports the addition of new affiliate station WSLW-AM/FM in Lewisburg, West Virginia and the expansion of carriage of the show on existing affiliate KINN-AM/FM in Alamogordo, New Mexico…..The Houston Chronicle reports that longtime market radio news pro Charles L. “Chuck” Scott died on June 28 after complications from a fall and previously diagnosed lung cancer.  Scott most recently served with Houston Public Media’s KUHF-FM.  During his long career he worked in the news department KIKK-AM, KNUZ-AM, and KQUE-FM.  He also worked for a number of years in the late 1960s and early 1970s at WLS-AM, Chicago.

Simmons Takes Over for Ryan at Salem Boston. At Salem Media Group’s three-station Boston cluster, Pat Ryan retires as general manager and general sales manager Carole Howley Simmons is promoted to the GM position. Salem operates three Christian stations in the market – WROL-AM, WEZE-AM, and WWDJ-AM.  Salem regional VP Jeff Reisman says,  “Throughout Carole’s tenure she has proven herself to be a creative and compassionate leader, skills that will serve her well as GM.  Carole brings a wealth of local-market knowledge and tenacity that will be instrumental in growing the Salem Boston radio stations/digital services to their full potential.”

Trump’s Meeting with Kim Jong Un, U.S. Tariffs Strategy, U.S.-China Trade Talks, 2020 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform-Detention Facilities, and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1).  The meeting in the DMZ between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; the U.S.’s tariffs strategy, including proposed tariffs on European Union goods; President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping enter into trade talks; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform efforts and controversial reports of conditions at border detention centers; and Iran’s violation of the nuclear deal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Classic call letters are returning to California’s Central Coast as Cumulus Media announces the launch of classic hits KRUZ. At the same time, the company announces that classic hip hop KVYB at 103.3 FM signs off in the Santa Barbara market and moves to the 106.3 FM frequency in the Oxnard market.  Cumulus Oxnard/Ventura RVP and market manager Sommer Frisk says, “Everything good takes time.  And, after more than a decade, it’s time we bring KRUZ 103.3 FM back to the Central Coast!  It’s also the right time to move ‘106.3 The Vibe’ to Oxnard to give the fans what they’ve been begging for.  With the combination of KRUZ 103.3’s powerful signal, along with the synergy of its legendary sister brand ‘106.3 The Vibe,’ we will provide new and exciting ways for our listeners and marketing partners to engage with the fans up and down the Central Coast.”…..Entercom names Brian Shannon morning show co-host for classic rock KGON.  Shannon joins Terry Boyd on “Terry Boyd’s World,” effective July 8.  Shannon says, “I am incredibly excited to be going home to radio and to be working alongside one of Portland’s best, Terry Boyd. Radio is my happy place and I’m planning to be a part of this station and this city for a long time.”  Prior to joining Entercom, Shannon was an editor and anchor for KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”…..iHeartMedia re-brands country WCKY-FM, Toledo as “Buckeye Country, 103.7 ‘CKY.”  Market president Shosh Abromovich says, “We’re so excited to once again be playing some of country music’s greatest songs from the 80s and 90s through today.  You may even hear some older classic country from time-to-time.”  The Bobby Bones show remains in morning drive.  Bob Delmont and Bob Pickett will split middays.  Meaghan Mick continues in afternoon drive.  Tom Travis handles evenings and “CMT with Cody Allen” airs in the overnights…..Speaking of Bobby Bones, his Premiere Networks-syndicated “Country Top 30 with Bobby Bones” program is now airing on the Chris Stevens-owned “Chris Country” format heard in numerous markets in the UK.  Also joining “Chris Country” is “Women of iHeartCountry,” an hour-long weekend program hosted by Bones and Amy Brown.  Each week on the show, they spotlight music from both established female country music artists and promising up-and-comers…..Last weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Delilah welcomed more than 100 guests to her home outside Seattle for the fifth-annual “Farm to Table” fundraiser for her non-profit foundation Point Hope.  2019 marks Delilah’s 15-year commitment to Point Hope, an organization she established as a voice for forgotten children everywhere. The immediate focus of the Foundation is supporting children in the U.S. foster care system, as well as refugee children in Ghana.  Pictured below is Delilah (left) and four-time Grammy Award-nominated artist Chris Daughtry, who performed for the dinner guests.

Monday, June 18, 2018

| June 18, 2018

NAB Pushing for Relaxed Ownership Regs. The National Association of Broadcasters is asking the Federal Communications Commission to modernize what it calls the “outdated radio ownership rules” as part of the quadrennial media ownership review expected to take place later this year.  The NAB states that the last change in ownership rules was part of the 1996 de-regulation of the industry and that since that time, competitors such as SiriusXM and the various digital audio services were born and have changed the audio media landscape.  Specifically, the NAB is suggesting the FCC consider the following: For station owners in the top 75 Nielsen Audio markets, raise the cap to up to eight FM signals and put no limit on the number of AM stations it can operate.  In the markets smaller than the top 75, it suggests there be no restrictions on the number of FM or AM stations a single entity can operate.  In explaining its request, the NAB writes, “The Commission’s goal of fostering audio programming ‘tailored to the needs and interests of specific local markets’ must account for today’s reality: tailoring now occurs on the basis of specific listeners, not just on the basis of local radio markets.  The FCC’s approach to regulating free OTA radio must reflect today’s competitive audio market in which consumers have access to a virtually infinite number of ‘stations’ tailored to their specific interests.  Continuing to insist that the existing radio ownership limits are necessary because local stations only compete among themselves defies reality and is contrary to law.  Indeed, the FCC’s current regulatory framework simply ignores a large portion of the listening and advertising equation.  The notion of what constitutes a competitor to radio stations must include audio outlets that consumers in local markets are listening to and the outlets that advertisers use.”

WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Morning Host Jeff Styles Wounded, Charged in Road Rage Incident. Chattanooga morning drive talk host Jeff Styles has been charged with aggravated assault and vandalism after a Friday afternoon road rage incident that left him with a gun-shot wound to his arm. WRCB-TV, Chattanooga reports that Styles – morning drive co-host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga – and fellow motorist Nickolas Bullington were involved in a road rage incident late Friday afternoon (6/15) that ended after Styles allegedly attacked Bullington’s car with a “military grade tomahawk” and Bullington responded by shooting Styles in the arm with a handgun.  Styles was treated at a local hospital and arrested the following day. The WRCB-TV report includes a statement from Styles’ lawyer alleging Bullington was the aggressor and Styles the victim.  Styles hosts “The Morning Press” with co-host Jim Reynolds and program and news director Kevin West.

Robert Feder Provides Glimpse Behind the Ratings Woes at WGN, Chicago.  Windy City media maven Robert Feder publishes an exclusive report on what some of the station’s talent are saying about the state of Tribune’s venerable WGN-AM as it moves from the Tribune Tower to brand new studios at 303 Wacker Drive.  It’s no secret that WGN has suffered a long trend of dwindling ratings as measured by Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys, and Feder’s story offers a look at what at least a few of the station’s personalities are feeling about the situation.  Read it here.

ESPN Audio Now Available on iHeartRadio. This move adds ESPN Audio’s networks and on-demand content to the iHeartRadio digital platform.  The multi-year deal with iHeartMedia allows users to livestream the ESPN Radio Network shows – “Golic and Wingo,” Dan Le Batard, Stephen A. Smith, etc. – the O&O’s in New York, Chicago and L.A., ESPN-affiliated stations, live play-by-play events, and ESPN’s roster of podcasts.  ESPN VP, Audio and Talent Traug Keller says, “We are consistently looking for new ways to give fans access to ESPN Audio’s tremendous content.  iHeartRadio, with its expansive network and reach, will help us bring new listeners into the fold and give current fans yet another way to enjoy their sports content, anytime, anywhere.”

National Radio Institute Begins Today at University of Tennessee. Today begins the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters Radio Talent Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  At this session, students from four different universities will learn from broadcast pros from Patrick Communications, Midwest Communications, Stonecom Radio, Entercom, Cumulus MediaScripps Radio, 5 Star Radio/Saga Communications, Cromwell Communications, Thunderbolt Broadcasting, and others.  The course is led by industry professionals and facilitated by the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters and the University of Tennessee’s College of Communications and Information and was spearheaded by radio consultant Dan Vallie.  The TAB Radio Talent Institute is the fourth of eight Radio Talent Institutes this summer from the National Radio Talent System, next are Confer Radio Talent Institute at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; Hubbard Radio Talent Institute at Central Washington University; KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute at Western Kentucky University, and the MBA Radio Talent Institute at Northwest Missouri State University.

TALKERS News Notes. The case of Nielsen Audio v. Bubba the Love Sponge was supposed to begin in trial court today, but the start of the eagerly awaited legal face-off will not happen until July 23 – that is, unless the two parties come to a settlement.  Nielsen’s complaint that Bubba the Love Sponge damaged its reputation by tampering with the PPM survey in the Tampa market goes back more than two-and-a-half years. Although a settlement is always a possibility, it seems unlikely Bubba would concede anything after spending as much on legal fees as he has up to this point.  Nielsen is seeking $1 million in damages.  Federal Judge James Whittemore offered no reason for the change in trial start dates but says it’s expected to last five to seven days…..cabana, the digital audio division of AdLarge Media, is announcing an exclusive ad sales representation deal for the newly launched true crime podcast network Murder.ly. AdLarge co-founder and co-CEO Cathy Csukas says, “True crime dramas are sought-after and in high demand among listeners and advertisers.  We’re proud to represent the titles in Murder.ly and bring this exclusive opportunity to cabana advertisers.”

Three Join Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America elects Wendy McMahon, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, and Charlie Weiss, publisher of New Bay Media’s TV Sector Brands, to its board of directors, and names Dennis Lyle, president and chief executive officer of the Illinois Broadcasters Association, an officer and vice president.  The new directors and Lyle were voted in during the board meeting that took place in New York City last week.  In a related story, at the TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! conference held in New York City on June 8, WPG, Atlantic City morning host and Heavy Hundred member Harry Hurley (pictured below at left) donated $2,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America on behalf of his successful Harry Hurley Charitable Foundation.  Foundation president Jim Thompson (right) accepted the check.  This marked the third year in a row that Hurley has made a large donation to the Broadcasters Foundation.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Roger Stone Allegation, Illegal Immigration Enforcement, Inspector General’s FBI-Clinton Probe Report, Trump Trade Wars, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the allegation Roger Stone met with a Russian promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton; the controversy over the treatment of illegals with young children; the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s investigation of the Hillary Clinton email server case; the tariffs being levied by the U.S. and retaliation by China and concerns about a global trade war; President Trump’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programmer Mat Bates has reportedly exited Cumulus Media’s legendary triple A KFOG, San Francisco where he was serving as program director.…..In the Reno market, Lotus Communications names Tina Smash morning drive host at classic rock KOZZ.  Smash is taking over the morning host role from operations manager and program director Jave Patterson who will assume the afternoon drive show hosting duties on Lotus’ sister active rock KDOT “Rock 104.5.”…..On-air pro Diana DeVille joins Strategic International Ministries’ country KWSV, Simi Valley, California “99.1 The Ranch” to host the midday program that was hosted by departed personality Mese Smith.  Station programmer Michael Raffety says, “It’s always hard replacing a strong personality that listeners have grown to love, like Mese Smith.  But if anyone can carry on the success, it’s Diana Deville. She’s loaded with great ideas and has a genuine love for the country music format and listener.  I know the audience will grow to love Diana as much as they do Mese.”…..Some of the winners at the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters awards luncheon held last Thursday (6/14) include Capitol Broadcasting’s hot AC WRAL-FM, Raleigh-Durham “MIX 101.5,” winner of the Radio Station of the Year honor in the large market category. Station PD Michele Williams says, “We at ‘MIX 101.5’ are honored to accept the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters’ radio station of the year award for 2017.  We thank this amazing community for allowing us to give back through events like our Radiothon for Duke Children’s Hospital, Interfaith Food Shuttle’s Back Pack Buddies Mediathon and our annual Christmas Choir Competition that supports local schools’ music programs.  It’s a privilege to serve you, our listeners, and we look forward to what’s to come in 2018 and beyond.”  Other winners were Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WZFX-FM, Fayetteville, which took home the Station of the Year honor for medium market stations, as well as WPEG, Charlotte “Power 98” evening personality Ya Girl Nikki who was honored with Large Market Personality of the Year.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

| December 21, 2017

Yappy Holidays!  The TALKERS magazine offices will be closed for the holidays on Friday, December 22 and will re-open on Tuesday, January 2.  We will be monitoring all telephone calls at 413-565-5413 and will be reading all emails at info@talkers.com.  We wish all of our readers and sponsors a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Thank you for more than 27 years of friendship and support.

Charles Osgood to End Radio Program Due to Health Concerns.  Yesterday’s announcement by Charles Osgood on his syndicated “Osgood File” program that he is ending the 50-year-old radio institution on the advice of his doctors no doubt came as a shock to his fans (and to programmers who carry the “Osgood File”).  It was just a couple of weeks ago that Westwood One announced a new deal to continue syndicating the daily vignettes produced by the 84-year-old broadcasting legend.  But now, apparently Osgood’s health is not good enough to allow him to continue to work.

The Top News/Talk Stories of 2017.  For more than 27 years, TALKERS magazine research has been tracking the stories and people discussed on news/talk radio stations across the country.  At the end of each year, we publish a retrospective of the stories and people that resonated with talk radio hosts and their listeners during the year and rank them according to the attention they received across the format.  Below is the chart for the top news/talk stories and people of 2017.

WW1 to Launch Dennis Miller Feature in January.  It’s been more than two years since entertainer Dennis Miller ended his daily talk radio show that was syndicated by Westwood One.  Now, Miller is back in the WW1 fold to host a daily radio feature.  The company says, “Dennis will share his idiosyncratic take on topical issues, the culture, and what Americans are talking about in two distinct 60-second programs, Monday through Friday.  The new Dennis Miller feature will showcase his incomparable wit and wisdom and be delivered in the unique Dennis Miller style.  Each episode informs, engages, and entertains listeners.”  The new feature debuts on January 22.

Ryen Russillo to Quit ESPN Radio for New Opportunities.  The ESPN Radio personality was offered a new deal with the sports content giant but, according to a press statement from ESPN Audio SVP Traug Keller, “He has decided to pursue other opportunities when his contract expires next year.”  Russillo will continue to produce podcasts for ESPN through next summer, but his final radio show will be tomorrow (12/22).  Keller added, “Ryen has been a signature voice for ESPN Audio for more than a decade, also contributing to other ESPN platforms with his work on the NBA, college football and more.  I respect his decision and we wish him continued success.”  Russillo was slated to partner up with Will Cain for the “Russillo and Cain” show to air from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET on the network, starting in January.  Russillo says, “This was a really tough decision.  ESPN Radio means a lot to me.  Even though I won’t be sitting in a studio every day like I have for the last eight-plus years, I’m looking forward to working on a podcast and still providing content for the company.”  The Washington Post’s Cindy Boren speculates that Russillo “is likely to have opportunities elsewhere, especially with Barstool Sports getting its own SiriusXM radio channel starting January 15.”  No word from ESPN Radio on who might be paired with Will Cain next month.

WPEN-FM, Philadelphia’s Mike Missanelli Show to Simulcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia.  Starting next year, the Mike Missanellli show – heard on Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in afternoon drive – will be simulcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia.  Beasley Philly VP and market manager Joe Bell comments, “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to have Mike Missanelli’s show on both ‘97.5 The Fanatic’ and NBC Sports Philadelphia.  We recently signed a multi-year extension deal with him.  This exciting new partnership will be an added bonus for the dedicated Philadelphia fans who are passionate about their sports teams.”  The simulcast will take place from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, leaving the 5:00 pm hour to air on radio only.

Craig Carton Rumored to Be Talking with Barstool Sports.  As mentioned in the Russillo story above, Barstool Sports is launching a channel on SiriusXM next month and Sporting NewsMichael McCarthy reports that he hears former WFAN, New York morning drive co-host Craig Carton is in talks with the multi-media company.  Carton, who resigned from WFAN after being charged by the Feds with operating a Ponzi scheme, recently launched his own podcast titled, “Hello My Name Is Craig.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Here are two items reported by Dave Hughes at his DCRTV.com site.  First, Hughes says he’s hearing that radio personality Derek Hunter is leaving Hearst’s news/talk WBAL-AM, Baltimore.  Hunter hosts the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm program.  Second, Hughes was first to report that WTOP, Washington morning news anchor Mike Moss is no longer with the Hubbard Radio all-news outlet.  Moss had been with WTOP since 1996…..Former FOX News Channel star Bill O’Reilly is promising a legal fight with three women who are filing a defamation suit against him.  As has been reported in numerous places, Rachel Witlieb Bernstein initially filed a suit against O’Reilly and has since been joined by Andrea Mackris and Rebecca Gomez Diamond.  They allege that O’Reilly and FOX News violated the terms of the settlements after they publicly attempted to portray the women as dishonest and politically motivated.  O’Reilly’s attorneys argue that the women are the ones who invited press coverage of their issues in the first place.  The Hill notes that Mackris, Gomez and Diamond settled separate sexual harassment cases against O’Reilly…..SiriusXM is presenting a special tribute to the legendary comedian Don Rickles beginning at 6:00 pm on Christmas Day on its Comedy Greats channel.  Ron Bennington hosts the new documentary, “A Life In Comedy,” featuring interviews with some of the biggest names from comedy’s past and present…..Earlier in the week, TALKERS magazine reported that iHeartMedia will air the audio of all-news WBZ-AM, Boston on the HD-2 channel of co-owned WBWL.  The company is also making news/talk WRKO available on the FM dial via the HD-2 channel of classic rock WZLX-FM.

GOP Tax Reform Passed, Mueller-Led Trump-Russia Investigation, North Korea Nuke Threats, U.S. Life Expectancy Falls Again, U.N. Jerusalem Vote, Russia Rehearses European Invasion, and NFL and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20).  The Republican tax reform plan is passed in to law by Congress; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; North Korea’s nuclear threats against the U.S.; life expectancy in the U.S. falls for the second straight year due to opioid fatalities; the U.N. Security Council’s expected vote rejecting the U.S.’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and re-locate its embassy there; reports that Russian military forces have rehearsed a European invasion scenario; and NFL and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Amplifi Media’s Steven Goldstein is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the radio industry’s leading experts on podcasting and the digital extensions of traditional broadcasting, Steven Goldstein, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  Goldstein is the former EVP and group program director of Saga Communications and, prior to that was a multi-faceted veteran of major market radio including WABC, New York as well as the NBC and ABC Radio Networks.  In 2015, he launched and became CEO of Amplifi Media, a consulting firm whose main function is to help the management and talent of other media companies navigate successful paths through the wild frontier of the emerging digital era.  In an extremely illuminating conversation, Harrison and Goldstein discuss the programming and marketing of podcasting, the “internet of things” and loss of privacy, the developing impact of voice-activated smart speakers, generational media-consuming habits and the future of terrestrial radio.  This program is not to be missed!  To listen to the entire podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There is a settlement in the union battle between Spanish Broadcasting System and SAG-AFTRA.  This issue stems from the union’s allegation that, in March 2017, eight employees of SBS’s radio stations KLAX and KXOL in Los Angeles were unlawfully terminated in retaliation for exercising their right to unionize.  Under the terms of the agreement, all employees receive full back pay, interest and expenses through January 14, 2018.  SBS offered the choice of reinstatement or significant front pay to all eight employees, and most chose to return to work to their former positions at SBS.  A few elected to move on and receive front pay.  The agreement also provides that SBS must engage in good faith bargaining with the goal of obtaining a collective bargaining agreement, and requires a rigorous bargaining schedule.  SBS has agreed that by mid-January, it will provide to SAG-AFTRA an economic proposal, including specific dollar figures for wages and fees to be paid to bargaining unit members…..The rock band Ivory Black, hailing from Kansas City, was named the winner of Cumulus Media’s inaugural “neXt2rock 2017” competition.  The national and local grassroots search for the nation’s newest rock star featured live performances from the top five national finalists and a special performance by John Varvatos Records recording artist Badflower.  The competition featured up-and-coming rock talent via a national radio grass roots talent search and artist development program for rock music…..Country music artist Danielle Bradbery was one of the stars of WKLB, Boston’s Holiday Jam at the House of Blues on December 14 that included High Valley and LOCASH.  Some of the Beasley Boston staff is pictured below with Bradbery (from l-r): Santa Claus, WKLB music director Dawn Santolucito, promotions coordinator Christina Serrano, midday personality Carolyn Kruse, Bradbery, morning show hosts Hannah Byrom and Jackson Blue, afternoon drive personality Kevin Kennedy, and program director David Corey.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

| August 3, 2017

Saga Communications Reports Q2 Financials; Net Revenue Down 1.9%.  That figure is based on revenue of $30.3 million for the second quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.  For the six months ended on June 30, Saga Communications reports net revenue of $56.4 million – a decrease of 3.3% compared to the first six months of 2016.  Saga recently signed off on its intent to sell its television stations in Joplin, Missouri and Victoria, Texas to Morgan Murphy Media for approximately $66.6 million and is acquiring eight radio stations in the Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina markets from Apex Media for $23 million.  The television stations are reported as discontinued operations and are not included in the above figures.  As for net income, Saga is reporting a figure of $4.5 million, down 5.9% from $4.8 million in Q2 of 2016.

E.W. Scripps Radio Division Revenue Down 5.6%.  Television is the majority of E.W. Scripps business, with radio and digital taking a back seat.  For the company as a whole, revenue was $232 million – up 2% from that same period a year ago.  Breaking the company down into segments, radio revenue was $17.2 million, down 5.6% from $18.2 million in the second quarter of 2016.  The company says segment profit in the radio division was $2.9 million in the second quarter, down from $3.9 million a year ago.  Looking at the digital segment for a moment, while revenue was up 27.2% to $19.3 million during the second quarter, expenses were up to $23.5 million for a segment loss of $4.2 million – down a bit from the loss of $4.7 million in Q2 of 2016.  Scripps reports that it is expecting third quarter radio revenue to be down in the mid-single digits.

ESPN Promotes Marcia Keegan to VP, National Radio Programming and Production.  This is a promotion from her previous title as vice president, production.  ESPN says that in this new role, Marcia Keegan will oversee all talk programming content on the ESPN Radio national network, including such shows as “Golic and Wingo,” “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” “The Ryen Russillo Show,” “The Right Time with Bomani Jones,” and “Jalen & Jacoby.”  She will continue to be responsible for ESPN’s packaged show productions – the unit that handles approximately 1,000 hours of programming produced by outside vendors.  ESPN SVP Traug Keller comments, “I’m so happy to welcome Marcia to the ESPN Audio team.  Her new perspective, strategic thinking and creativity strengthen an already formidable ESPN Audio talk programming lineup.”

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Smitty O’Loughlin is retiring from the radio biz after a 36-year career.  O’Loughlin has been serving as the market manager for Community Broadcasters’ Elmira, New York station group for the past four years.  He says, “It is bittersweet as I turn the page to a new chapter in my life.  Broadcasting is and will always be part of my life regardless of what retirement brings.  I cherish the moments and memories with so many professionals, helping so many people throughout the years, and the personal fulfillment with all the community outreach.”  O’Loughlin began his career in the Fort Smith, Arkansas market in 1981…..There’s a change in the on-air team for Tennessee Titans football broadcasts this season as former Titans tight end Frank Wycheck is taking the season off and is being replaced by former NFL coach Dave McGinnis as color analyst.   Wycheck continues his role on “The Wake-Up Zone” heard on Cumulus Media’s Titans flagship WGFX, Nashville “104.5 The Zone.”  The team released the following statement, “After multiple discussions with Frank, it was agreed that he will take this season off from the radio broadcasts and return next season. With the season quickly approaching, we have reached an agreement with Dave McGinnis to fill-in for Frank this season. Coach Mac has a deep knowledge and passion for the game, along with eight years as a coach with the Titans.  He is very excited about taking on this role and we think he will fill in admirably.”  Wycheck has been vocal about how concussions from his playing days have affected his health and its believed that this move is designed to, at least temporarily, lighten his workload.

Russian Sanctions/U.S.-Russia Relations, Fate of ObamaCare, North Korea Nuclear Threats, Iran-Nukes Deal, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s Book, West Wing Power Struggle, Trump Immigration Plan, Affirmative Action College Admissions, Dow Hits 22k, MLB Action and NFL Training Camps Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/2). President Donald Trump sign’s Russian sanctions bill and the tense relations between the U.S. and Russia; the GOP’s continuing efforts to build consensus for repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it; North Korea’s nuclear threats and U.S. diplomatic/military options; both sides in the Iran nuclear deal accuse the other of violating the pact; Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s new book, A Principled Conservative, rankles fellow Republicans for its anti-Trump content; chatter about the ongoing West Wing power struggle and whether adviser Stephen K. Bannon will be next to exit; the Trump Administration’s plan to curtail immigration numbers; concerns by minority advocates the DOJ will investigate race-based admission policies at U.S. colleges; the Dow closes at a record 22,000-plus for the first time; Major League Baseball action; and news from the NFL’s training camps were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Completely Posted Today (8/3) with the Presentation of the “College Broadcaster of the Year Award” to WRHU, Hofstra University student manager Maria Santana by Doug Stephan (with introduction by Newsmax TV host/executive producer Bill Tucker).  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions have been posted to Talkers.com.  They include:

–          The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).

–          The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).

–          The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).

–          The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).

–          The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan BearmanBold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein.  All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.

–          A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.”  They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess(introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri), a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA  Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young, and a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues collectively titled, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?” featuring a conversation between WRHU, Hofstra University OM John T. Mullen and WRFH, Hillsdale College GM Scot Bertram; a conversation between The New Normal CEO/founder/host Tom Leykis and syndicated host Michael Berry; a conversation between The Weiss AgencyEVP Heather Cohen and Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade; and a conversation between WPHT, Philadelphia host Dom Giordano and GCN syndicated host Dr. Daliah Wachs  (facilitated by WOR, New York APD Scott Lakefield). At the conclusion, Dr. Wachs is presented the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” award by Michael Harrison.

–          Three memorial tributes by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon dedicated to major talk show personalities and longtimeTALKERS Convention participants who passed away this past year:  Tom MarrDr. Joy Browne and Alan Colmes.  (Introduction by Stephan Multimedia CEO/host, Doug Stephan.)

–          Presentation of the 2017 “Woman of the Year” award to Cumulus Media president/CEO Mary Berner by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.

–          Special luncheon greeting by Salem Radio Network syndicated host Joe Walsh (with introduction by SRN VP Phil Boyce).

–          TODAY (8/3) completes the agenda with the posting of the presentation of the 2017 “College Broadcaster of the Year” award to WRHU, Hofstra University student manager Maria Santana by Doug Stephan (with introduction by Newsmax TV host/executive producer Bill Tucker).

Every session will remain online for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  There’s a plum gig open in Milwaukee as Entercom hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix” is seeking an air personality for its “Morning Mix” AM drive show alongside market pro Elizabeth Kay.  Interested radio pros should apply via Entercom’s website here…..On-air and programming pro Johnny Maze exits Adams Radio Group’s rock WZBH, Salisbury/Ocean City “93.5 The Beach” and sister classic rocker WGBG “BIG 98.5.”  Maze, who was the afternoon drive personality at WZBH, also served as program director for both stations.  He says in a Facebook post, “I am ‘officially’ ON THE BEACH! As of today, I am no longer with ‘93.5 The Beach’ in Salisbury/Ocean City.  I had a good time, accomplished some great things and I made some awesome friends.  Looking forward to finding my next opportunity and challenge.”…..The “Dudley & Bob with Matt” show – heard in mornings on Emmis classic rock KLBJ-FM, Austin is celebrating 25 years on the air at a special show on August 12 at Austin’s Paramount Theatre.  The program will honor show founders Dale Dudley and Bob Fonseca.  The event will feature a dedication from Austin’s mayor as well as performances by comedians and local music acts.  The show was nominated for a Marconi Award in 2007 for Medium Market Personality of the Year.   They were inducted in to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2009…..Superadio promotes two to new positions.  Rich O’Brien rises to the newly created position of EVP of programming and affiliate relations and Eric Faison is elevated to SVP of programming and affiliate relations.  Superadio COO Jack Bryant states, “Both Rich and Eric are seasoned veterans of the industry and both epitomize the high standards for which the company is known.  All programming, talent, and affiliate matters are in the best of hands with the team of Rich and Eric.”

Ice Cream for a Good Cause. Pictured here in the WPLJ, New York studios are (from l-r): Jason Street from Applegate Farm, WPLJ morning co-host Jayde DonovanMelinda Street from Applegate Farm, and Philip Salerno from Children’s Specialized Hospital.  They are holding the two winning ice cream flavors – Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Chunk and S’mores Fluff-A-Nutter – that WPLJ jocks and listeners created to be featured at Applegate Farm in Montclair, New Jersey through October.  Ninety-five cents from every cone sold will be donated to Children’s Specialized Hospital.

Analysis: Hivio 2016 Day 2

| June 6, 2016

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianlgLOS ANGELES — After presenting a full slate of activity Thursday afternoon (6/2), San Diego-based media advisor-strategist/research analyst Mark Ramsey returned the following morning (Friday, 6/3) with another packed schedule as part of Hivio 2016. Kicking things off was a one-on-one discussion with Panoply Media chief content officer Andy Bowers, who has been working on Slate podcasts since 2005. The former, 14-year NPR correspondent joined Slate in April 2003 when it was working on various internet projects. “By magazine standards, we jumped in pretty early,” he recalls. “It proved to be one of the most popular things Slate did.” By 2014, they realized other magazines would most likelybowersandy get into the business as well and Bowers opines, “We could either compete [against them] or we could try to form a network and help teach them what we had learned.” That was the idea behind Panoply, a full-service podcast network that “connects sophisticated listeners with top publishers and thinkers,” which was started approximately 16 months ago. “We are trying to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for media brands, authors, and people we think should be doing a podcast,” Bowers told Ramsey.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

| July 13, 2015

greymichaelMichael Grey Returns to WBBL, Grand Rapids.  The Cumulus Media-owned sports talk station says popular Grand Rapids radio personality Michael Grey returns to the morning show daypart with new co-host Ryan Schuiling.  Grey co-hosted mornings on WBBL, Grand Rapids from 2009 through 2011wbbl logo with Bret Bakita.  He’s also worked at KXSP, Omaha and KIRO, Seattle.  WBBL program director Dave Jaconette says, “We are thrilled to have Michael Grey back on 107.3 WBBL.  After successful stints in Omaha and Seattle, Michael is back to talk with fans about the teams he loves.  And I’m very happy that Ryan Schuiling will be joining him on what will be one of West Michigan’s most exciting sports talk shows.”

espnaudiologoESPN Radio Reports Increased Streaming Numbers.  Referring to second quarter 2015 streaming data, ESPN Radio Network announces it accrued more than 2.5 billion total listening minutes compared to the same period in 2014.  That’s an increase of 31%.  The sports giant also reports that its on-demand audio downloads were up 27% over last year with more than 90 million downloads.  ESPN SVP, production business divisions Traug Keller says, “Sports fans consume audio across multiple platforms and the compelling content that ESPN Audio offers through streaming and podcasts is making an impact on listening.”

missanellimikePhilly Sports Talk Wars Invade Print Turf.  The hand-grenade lobbing between CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM and Greater Media’s WPEN-FM in Philadelphia has moved to the print media with WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon host Mike Missanelli writing a column for Philly Mag in which he lambastesinnesjosh afternoon host Josh Innes for his on-air style, former host Tony Bruno for similar reasons and suggests the former duo’s ratings successes against his show are not all they seem.  According to a story at Philly.com, Innes lashed back at Missanelli on his radio show saying the piece was “basically the last ramblings of a desperate man who’s trying to politic his way into the hearts of a few people by basically reading comment sections and seeing what appeals to meatballs.”  Read the Philly.com coverage of the feud here.

ppmunitNielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of June 2015 PPM Data.  The fourth of four rounds of June 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 June 2015 survey period covered May 21 through June 17.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

Odds & Sods.  Another personnel move in Philly sports talk as Pat Gallen leaves Greater Media’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” to join CBS’ KYW-TV as sports anchor.  Gallen served with WPEN-FM as a sports anchor and reporter.  His move to KYW-TV comes just a week after former NFL great Beasley Reece was let go from his sports anchor post at the station…..After nine years with NAB – the last four as EVP of government relations –colekelly Kelly Cole announces she’s leaving the organization to open her own advocacy firm.  In an email to NAB’s board of directors, Cole said, in part, “Over nine years, I’ve seen NAB make amazing strides.  Gordon Smith is a tremendous leader.  Our relationships with state associations are at an all-time high, and we have EVPs in every department who work cohesively and collaboratively.  NAB is viewed with respect on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill, and our government relations team is the strongest it has ever been during my time at NAB. It has been an absolute privilege to be a member of this amazing team, to be a part of NAB history, and to work with all of you.”…..Matt Martinez moves from his most recent position with NPR as senior producer to Pacific Public Media-owned non-com KPLU, Seattle where he’ll serve as director of content…..KNTK, Lincoln, Nebraska sports talk personality Tom Stephens is recovering after suffering a heart attack on June 26.  Stephens co-hosts the midday show with John Gaskins on the Home Field Communications station.  According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, the 51-year-old is undergoing speech and occupational therapy and is anxious to get back on the air.

metaxasRadioCity15Eric Metaxas at Radio City Music Hall.  Author and Salem Radio Network talk host Eric Metaxas appears here on the big screen in Times Square on Friday (7/10)  as the guest speaker at evangelist Luis Palau’s “City Fest” at Radio City Music Hall.  Metaxas’ address was beamed out to the crowd in Times Square.  Palau hosted an event the next evening in Central Park that drew some 60,000 attendees.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

| October 9, 2013

kesn logoCumulus Takes Over Operation of KESN, Dallas; Gives WBAP-FM Signal to KTCK.  A number of things happened at the Cumulus Dallas operations in conjunction with the company’s assuming operation of wbaplogoESPN O&O sports talk KESN under an LMA.  First, as TALKERS reported earlier, Randy Galloway did his last “Galloway and Company” program on Monday afternoon and noted that in addition to his exiting the station in order to collect his salary from ESPN through the end of the year, KESN program director Tom Lee, air talent Landry Locker and sports anchor Kelly Webster were also casualties of the change.  Cumulus also owns and operates sports talk KTCK “SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket” in the market and served notice that on October 21, WBAP-FM at 96.7 will carry the KTCK programming.  WBAP-FM has been simulcasting news/talk WBAP-AM’s programming since 2010.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports Cumulus Dallas vice president and market manager Dan Bennett indicated the news/talk station has seen no ratings increase since adding the FM signal to its huge AM coverage of the market.  He said news/talk WBAP will be carried on the HD-2 signal of KPLX at 99.5 for those in the market with HD Radios.  Meanwhile, it’s being reported that Cumulus is taking current KCTK simulcast signal KTDK, Sanger, Texas (about 60 miles north of the Dallas metro) dark and will return it to the FCC after an earlier attempt to sell it to broker Bill Whitley was turned down by the Commission.  The ownership cap prevents Cumulus from hanging on to the station.

TalkersLA2013Larry Wilson to Deliver Keynote Address at Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  In what TALKERS magazine VP/executive editor Kevin Casey describes as the cherry on top of a delicious sundae, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson has been named keynote speaker at the forthcoming Talkers Loswilsonlarry Angeles 2013 conference that will take place in Hollywood on Thursday of this week.  The executive who TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a great hope and role model for radio station ownership returning to human proportions, a productive business plan and positive artistic values,” will deliver a speech titled “Radio at the Crossroads” in which he will discuss some of the pressing issues facing the medium in 2013 and his vision for the business to thrive in the early 21st century.  Wilson, who graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1967 with a degree in Accounting and the University of Arizona in 1972 with a degree in Law, is the recipient of numerous broadcasting industry awards and honors.  He has a stellar history in broadcasting that includes having been EVP and general counsel of Combined Communications Corporation and, later, co-founder of Citadel Communications which, under his leadership as president/CEO and chairman, grew to own 205 radio stations in 42 markets prior to being sold to the Wall Street Investment Firm, Forstmann Little & Co. in 2001 for $2.1 billion.  In 2009, Wilson announced his return to radio station ownership and in 2009, along with Portland, Oregon-based Endeavour Capital, formed Alpha Broadcasting.  Today, in Portland Oregon, Alpha Broadcasting operates six radio stations, KUPL-FM, KBFF-FM, KXL-FM, KINK-FM, KXTG-AM and KUFO-AM and is in expansion mode with the plan to acquire more stations in carefully selected markets across the nation.  Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting owns or is in the processing of acquiring stations in Columbia, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Jackson and Biloxi, Mississippi; Peoria, Illinois; and Bluefield, West Virginia.  Larry Wilson’s address will take place during the afternoon segment of the conference at 2:00 pm immediately following the annual “Woman of the Year” presentation.  Talkers Los Angeles 2013 — a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club — takes place between 9:00 am and 6:15 pm on Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, California.  The event will be broadcast live in its entirety on TalkersRadio.  For remaining sponsorship opportunities at the sold-out, industry-only event and general information call 413-565-5413.  To see the up-to-date, power-packed agenda, please click here.

hartmannThom Hartmann Co-Written ‘Last Hours’ Film Now Available.  WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Thom Hartmann’s latest book, The Last Hours of Humanity, is the foundation for the new film, “Last Hours,” created by filmmaker Leila Conners and producers George DiCaprio, Earl Katz, and Mathew Schmid along with Hartmann and writer/researcher Sam Sacks.  According to a press release, “Last Hours” is a film that explores the possibility that we could be close – centuries or perhaps just decades -to tipping points that could lead to a sixth mass extinction, and relies on input from some of the world’s leading scientists.  Hartmann states, “It’s almost impossible to know when you have passed a tipping point.  You only see them in retrospect.  So we have to do everything we can now to avoid inadvertently hitting tipping points that might lead to catastrophic methane releases.”  The film is currently available on YouTube and at lasthours.org.

cumulus logoConsumer Watchdog Weighs in on Cumulus-WestwoodOne Merger.  The Washington-based Consumer Watchdog organization writes to the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division objecting to Cumulus Media’s acquisition of WestwoodOne (formerly Dial Global).  The organization states, “A proposed merger between major radio station owner Cumulus Media and radio content provider Dial Global/Westwood One would create a clear radio duopoly (with Clear Channel Communications) in the nation’s largest radio markets.”  Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court states, “This merger would be a tipping point for listeners who already face fewer choices and homogenized content in talk, music and even sports.  A takeover of Dial Global by Cumulus will fully corporatize content in the top 100 markets and kill what remains of truly local radio.”

reesrobertWRPW, Normal, Illinois Turns TV Concept into Radio Gold.  Great Plains Media news/talk WRPW, Normal “Cities 92.9” has been taking a page from a popular cable TV show and turning it into a visibility and revenue-enhancing programming element.  Operations manager Josh Roberts says the station was searching for a way to get talent on the streets and bring in some more revenue when a promotions brain-storming session planted the seed for its “On the Job with Robert Rees” feature.  The idea stemmed from Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” in which Rowe does strange, hazardous or messy jobs alongside regular employees.  Roberts says it started with the funny idea of morning host Robert Rees going to work “shoveling manure or driving a snow plow.  Next thing we know we’re talking about selling it and really putting Robert to work!”  Roberts says the concept, called “On the Job with Robert Rees,” started out as a feature where every two weeks Robert would go work for a business for two hours.  The sales staff quickly sold out through August and began to sell the idea weeks in between.  Nearly every week had been sold from March through August of this year.  The concept is that station promotes the event a week beforehand, Robert interviews the business owner on his show the day before, during the event Robert calls in to the station with updates on what he was doing while someone else films him working.  The next day a “highlight” video is posted on the station’s YouTube page and the business receives a copy of the video for its marketing efforts.  You can see some of the videos from the project at http://www.youtube.com/user/Cities929TV/videos

remickrobynESPN Ups Robyn Remick to New Post at Orlando’s ESPN Wide World of Sports.  For the past nine years, Robyn Remick has been with ESPN on the affiliate marketing and ESPN Audio affiliate relations teams.  She begins the transition to a newly created post in Orlando as vice president, business and content development at ESPN Wide World of Sports in the Disney World complex.  The company states that Remick “will pursue and lead new business initiatives and events at ESPN Wide World of Sports, which is visited by nearly two million amateur athletes, coaches and spectators each year.”  She will report to Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions, who oversees ESPN Audio among other units.

wolfemattABC News Radio Names Matt Wolfe Production Manager.  ABC News Radio executive director Andrew Kalb announces the hiring of Matt Wolfe to serve as production manager for the division.  In a memo to staffers, Kalb notes that Wolfe served as a freelance WGA writer with the company between 2004 and 2007 and “for the last few years has been working in a freelance role on our digital audio initiatives.  Matt was responsible for one of our first pieces on the Men’s Life station on Slacker Radio.”  Wolfe has also worked at Cox Media Group’s rock WBAB, Babylon, New York (Long Island market) for the past 13 years and held a variety of positions at the station including as producer of the morning show and hosting a weekend evening shift.  Kalb says, “Matt’s production, broadcast and on-air skills are the perfect mix for the continued growth of the many products we currently produce and many of our future initiatives.”

kingmanredRed Kingman Exits WHTC, Holland, Michigan.  West Michigan talk radio personality Red Kingman exits Midwest Communications’ WHTC, Holland, Michigan (southwest of Grand Rapids) after an incident in September that happened on the company’s sister station classic hits WYVN “92.7 The Van.”  Kingman – a conservative talk show host on WHTC – was subbing on “The Morning Grind” with co-host Mike Johnson on September 14 when he played a song parody of a Miller Lite commercial that contained the f-word.  Kingman says airing the song was part of a technical issue that morning but tells Mlive.com that he understands the company’s zero-tolerance policy but doesn’t think the mistake on WYVN should have cost him his job on the AM station.

resnickjohnJohn Resnick’s ‘Legends of Success’ Partners with Talk Media Network.  “Legends of Success with John Resnick” announces it is partnering with Talk Media Network to deliver national advertising sales, affiliate marketing, and syndication support.  Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng states, “’Legends of Success with John Resnick’ is a well-established brand and program without equal in its category.  John Resnick’s ability to secure and engage the biggest names in business and entertainment on his program make it an appointment-listening radio show and a valuable sponsorship opportunity for affiliate stations.”  The show has been in production since 2002.

dryerfredOdds & Sods.  CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Fred Dryer is hosting a Thursday Night Football Viewing Party on October 17 at Bob’s Big Boy in Sun Valley, California.  The former NFL star and TV personality – who hosts a weekly show on CRN – will be there along with other CRN personalities…..Former Dial Global AC night personality Chad Blake signs on with Salem Communications to serve as executive producer for news/talk KNUS, Denver’s “Kelley and Company” morning drive show hosted by Steve Kelley and Bill Rogan…..The Motley Fool announces the launch of a daily one-minute radio report called “Motley Fool Stock Watch” which provides “timely stock analysis for listeners and a profitable offering for stations: no network ad inventory.”  The company says Hubbard‘s WTOP, Washington has signed up for the feature that it says “goes beyond the typical on-the-hour market updates and is for people who follow Main Street as well as Wall Street.”

Andi Marshall Passes.  News pro Andi Marshall died on Saturday, October 5 after a battle with cancer.  Marshall spent 12 years as a news anchor on KFWB, Los Angeles.  She exited the station in 2009 but returned as a fill-in anchor in recent years.

Obama Approval Rating, Government Shutdown/Fiscal Crisis, ObamaCare Implementation, IRS Scandal, Yellen Nominated for Fed Post, Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8).  President Obama’s sinking approval ratings; the ongoing efforts to end the government shutdown and address the debt ceiling limit; scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the evolving IRS scandal; Janet Yellen’s nomination for chair of the Fed; and the fluctuating financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, October 12, 2012

| October 12, 2012

New Media Seminar Draws 275 in Los Angeles.  It was a packed house sold out two weeks in advance as some 275 talk media broadcasters from across the country, with a distinct emphasis on the Western states, rocked the old Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood yesterday.  Approximately 50 speakers — including the likes of Robin Bertolucci, Phil Boyce, Kevin Casey, Holland Cooke, Jerry Doyle, Skip Essick, Ian Freeman, Bill Handel, Heidi Harris, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Sam Hasson, Michael Horn, Rusty Humphries, Karel, Mike Kinosian, Kraig Kitchin, Lars Larson, Kevin Larue, Garret Lewis, Tom Leykis, Andy Ludlum, Carole Marks, Don Martin, Mike McVay, Stephanie Miller, Bob Moore, Bill Moran, Patt Morrison, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Ken Rutkowski, Walter Sabo, Brent Seltzer, Dave Sniff, Eric Stanger, Doug Stephan, Shadoe Stevens, Alan Stock, Chuck Tyler, Jeff Wasserman, Eric Weiss, and Michael Zwerling – tackled a variety of hot industry topics including the economic, technological and cultural challenges facing talk radio broadcasters in 2012.  This full day event was part two of TALKERS magazine’s new 2012 format in which the New Media Seminar was broken into East and West coast segments.  The first was a sellout event held in New York on June 7.

“Those who do not adapt will be swallowed up.”  That was the admonishment of Courtside Entertainment CEO Norm Pattiz in his Thursday morning keynote.  Consistently sounding a no-nonsense tone, Pattiz assured attendees that this is a very serious time.  Along those lines, Pattiz even mentioned that his comments that kicked off the enthusiastically well-received event would not be going for laughs.  Touching on a variety of bullet points, the former Westwood One honcho commented that, despite the fact audience size is unchanged, there is dwindling support for conservative talk radio from national advertisers.  “There were no 400-pound gorillas,” when Pattiz began in the radio syndication business.  Missing good old-fashioned radio wars, he noted that people “banged heads in a good-natured way.”  Importance of the product was heavily stressed by Pattiz, who emphasized that he “did not get in the business because of money – I’m a content guy.”  The idea of giving anything away for nothing “is ridiculous,” he remarked.  Despite cautioning the audience that his keynote would be straightforward, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ #1 fan could not resist lightening the mood on several occasions when, including when he stated, “You should not sleep well knowing that I am the chairman of Lawrence Livermore National Security.”

A star-studded panel looked at the big picture of spoken-word radio, with CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler stating, “We are not in the radio business – we are in the content business.”  Content, however, must be memorable and compelling.  Provided that personalities “do not break their promises to listeners,” it is the opinion of Sound Mind CEO Kraig Kitchin that they will “continue to sell their books.”  Demos are not what Phil Boyce seeks.  “I chase ears,” commented Salem Communications‘ vice president/director, spoken word formats, who added, “People on the left want to kill talk radio.”  One of the key buzzwords, according to Fox Sports Radio vice president/programming Don Martin, is “bundle.”  The operations manager of Los Angeles’ KLAC commented that, from a branding standpoint, it is much wiser to use handles such as “Fox Sports Radio – LA,” or “ESPN Radio 710,” rather than, “The Zone,” or “The Ticket.”

The New Normal president/host Tom Leykis was among the “Modern Day Pioneer” panelists.  The popular talk host isn’t a fan of having television cameras in a radio studio.  The concept of viewing a radio show on television, is – in Leykis’ estimation” very similar to “watching socks dry.” Esteemed programmer and “Mental Radio” host Shadoe Stevens added, “It takes away the theater of the mind.”  Virtually everyone thought Mike Horn “was crazy” when the chief executive officer of CRN Digital Talk set forth the concept of providing audio channels to cable TV providers.  Next year, his company will celebrate its 30th birthday.  “You must have great programming and a way to promote it,” Horn remarked.

Look for extensive coverage of this historic radio gathering in the coming days and weeks in TALKERS and RadioInfo including video coverage and bonus interviews.

Competition in the Network Sports Talk Field Breeding War of Words.  A story in the New York Post illustrates the intense competition the arrival of two new major players (CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio) in the sports talk radio network business is having.  Reporting what the industry has known for some time – that the Cumulus distribution partnership with the new CBS Sports Radio Network will mean 47 new affiliates for CBS and would mean some affiliation cancellations for ESPN Radio – the two sides engaged in a little competitive posturing in the Post story.  Saying it will have about 100 affiliate stations when it debuts in January and positioning itself as the “most-listened-to sports radio network in the top 50 markets,” CBS is playing up its assets – namely O&Os in major and large markets.  CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason tells the Post, “ESPN affiliates are in small markets.  Maybe you find that adds up to a lot of audience.  Don’t forget that CBS Radio owns most of the top 10 sports stations in the US, and with Cumulus that’s formidable.  ESPN has had the market much to themselves, we’re the new entry and we think we put together formidable talent.”  ESPN Radio SVP of production and business Traug Keller responds, “This has no material effect on us.  There’s only three or four [Cumulus] stations in the top 50.”  He also tells the paper ESPN is already finding new affiliates in markets where current agreements are being terminated, including Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama.

Barclays Capital Analyst Downgrades U.S. Advertising Growth Forecast.  The ad industry as a whole will not grow as much over the next year and a half as previously predicted states Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente.  In a report issued yesterday, DiClemente stated he believes ad growth across all sectors will be just 4% this year compared to his original prediction of 4.6%.  For 2013, DiClemente says he believes ad revenue will rise just 1.9% compared to his previous 2.3% forecast.  He did not specifically report on projections for radio.  He did, however, give a positive outlook for News Corp. performance.

WSCR, Chicago’s Jason Goff to Take Night Host Position at CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talker.  Rounding out the lineup of CBS Radio’s WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” is Jason Goff, who will become the host of the evening show when the station debuts on October 24.  The lineup for the new sports talker was announced earlier this week with the exception of the evening slot.  Now, “The Score” fill-in host, writer, producer and reporter will move south for his own nightly talk show.  Goff has been with WSCR for the past 12 years and program director Mitch Rosen is obviously thrilled for Goff telling Chicago Radio and Media, “What a great story Jason Goff is.  From a caller in high school to an intern to a full-time producer/fill-in host, and now to a top market like Atlanta to be a full-time host!  This is a Hollywood story in progress, Jason will excel and I could not be more proud.”

Looking Into the Digital Crystal Ball.  Saga Communications made the news this past Wednesday when they anointed their program directors as “brand managers.”  Saga’s EVP Steve Goldstein, issued a memo that you read here in TALKERS.  It read, in part, “We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand.  And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of program directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.”  In today’s TALKERS, leading digital radio consultant Chris Miller writes about what this move actually will mean to the managers involved.  Looking into his digital crystal ball he predicts that before too long, brand managers will be judged on how much time people are spending with their entire brand.  Not just their broadcasts, but all the platforms that they manage.  He says that we will move into the era of the “new ratings” in which every click is trackable – no estimates – and stations will own the data without having to buy it from a third party (uh, oh Arbitron).  He also points out that this new era will open the door to new competition and an increased concentration on niches.  Fasten your seat belts because this is one fast ride!  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.

Doug Hess Exits WLTP, Parkersburg, West Virginia.  News director and morning drive co-host Doug Hess is leaving Clear Channel’s news/talk WLTP, Parkersburg, West Virginia after 21 years doing local news in the market.  According to the News-Sentinel, Hess will take a position as communications and outreach coordinator with The ARC of the Mid-Ohio Valley.  Hess tells the paper he’ll miss the news business he’s been a part of for so many years.  “People depend on you to get this information out to them in a timely manner.  It is an important job and it has been a privilege to do it.”

Beasley Broadcasting Adds FM Signals to Southwest Florida’s 770 ESPN Radio.  WWCN, Ft. Myers gets some FM signal boost to help it cover Lee and Collier counties.  Beasley Broadcasting announces the ESPN Radio affiliate can now be heard on 98.1 FM in South Ft. Myers and Estero; 101.5 FM in Bonita Springs and North Naples; and 105.1 FM in Naples and Marco Island.  VP/market manager Brad Beasley states, “This is a big deal for Southwest Florida sports enthusiasts.  For the past 12 years, the only way to hear sports in our community has been on the AM dial.  Now our loyal listeners can also follow their favorite teams and events at multiple locations on the FM dial…and that’s awesome!”

Vice Presidential Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 8-12.  The anticipation of the vice presidential candidate’s debate and the post-debate discussion was the top news/talk story of the week landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the questioning of the facts presented by the Obama administration about the attack in Banghazi.  At #3 was the presidential race poll numbers followed by the aftermath of the first presidential debate at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

| October 10, 2012

Michael Savage Tells San Francisco Chronicle His Return to Radio is Imminent.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk star Michael Savage (who won his freedom from TRN in arbitration recently) plans to be back on the radio within two weeks.  Savage tells the paper, “I’ve got to get back before these (presidential) debates are over.  And when I do, it will be bigger than ever.”  Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, says Savage is in negotiations with three “major players” but wouldn’t say which ones or what station might serve as a flagship.

President Obama Calls in to Tom Joyner Show this Morning. This morning (10/10) on the Tom Joyner Morning Show President Barack Obama called in and spoke to Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes about the debate, the importance of voting, his focus on the African American Community, and his thoughts on winning this tight election.  In the opinion of the TALKERS editors, the President made several powerful news making comments.  To read a key excerpt from this exclusive interview, click here.

Programmer Marshall Adams Exits All-News WYAY, Atlanta.  Before joining the Cumulus Atlanta all-newser early this year, Marshall Adams served as program director at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh.  Now, the word is Adams has exited the fledgling all-news operations.  There’s no word from Cumulus who will take over the programming role at WYAY.

Mancow Show in Pre-Recorded Mode During Move to New Studios.  The Chicago-based and TRN-FM nationally syndicated Mancow program is airing taped shows this week as the program prepares to launch in its TV-radio simulcast format on October 22, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  Mancow’s show will emanate from the studios of Fox TV-owned WPWR-TV, Chicago with the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours being simulcast on TV.  Also, Feder reports that former “Ebert & Roeper” program executive producer Don Dupree has been hired as director and produce of the Mancow show.  Mancow’s program had been produced at Cumulus Media’s Chicago studios.

The Future of PDs: Brand Managers.  Perhaps the headline of this story should read the “present” of program directors as an increasing number of companies are adopting the title “brand manager” to describe the role of the radio station/group position historically known as “program director.”  With the likes of so highly respected and forward thinking a company as Saga Communications joining the ranks of those using this more expansive title RadioInfo recognizes the movement is shifting from trend status to a significant paradigm shift.  The concept is articulated by Saga Communications executive vice president Steve Goldstein in the following memo received by the company’s program directors in all formats, talk and music:

I have some very important and exciting news…

We truly live in a multi-platform world.  As a Program Director, you are now spending an increased amount of your time thinking about and working with our various digital platforms.  Whether it be the station website(s), social media such as Facebook, Twitter or crafting emails and texts, it’s all now a part of the PD’s day.  This is in addition to managing the external marketing feel and visual aspects of the brand.

And of course, all of this is on top of creating vital and compelling on-air radio with all of the moving parts of morning shows, music, talk programming, news, sports, etc.

So, we’ve been thinking a lot about how vastly different the job of the Program Director is in 2012 and where it is likely to go in the coming years.

We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand.  And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of Program Directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.

When you drill it all down, what it really means is that the PD is no longer just a PROGRAM DIRECTOR, but a multi-platform BRAND MANAGER.

And so with the notion that things will continue to evolve, we are making a formal title change for all of our PDs from Program Director to Brand Manager.    This change is intended to not only reflect how people in our business think about the position of PD but how PD’s think about themselves.

Managing the assets of a brand is what you do today, and we think this new title better reflects the change in responsibility and overall outlook.

We discussed this during our recent General Manager meeting in Florida and it met with tremendous approval.

Congratulations BRAND MANAGER.

Saga Communications owns and operates more than 100 broadcast stations in 29 markets.

ESPN Confirms Central Florida Affiliates.  ESPN Radio remains on the Central Florida markets of Orlando – on Cox Media’s WDBO-AM beginning November 12 – and in Tampa Bay on Clear Channel’s WDAE.  The moves come after Genesis Communications elected not to renew its affiliation with ESPN radio on WBHO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando.  As we reported yesterday, Cox Media is flipping the AM side of WDBO-AM/FM to sports as “ESPN 580 Orlando” and will carry the ESPN Radio lineup including Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd, and SVP & Russillo.  WDBO has not announced a local PM drive talent as this time.  ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions Traug Keller says, “We’re pleased to team with Cox to broadcast ESPN Radio content on WDBO-AM 580, one of the strongest signals in the Southeast, and with Clear Channel to provide ESPN programming on 620 WDAE.  Our new affiliates in both Tampa and Orlando are a huge step up in signal strength, business acumen and our drive to grow our business with the best in the business.”

Tom Bauerle Re-Ups with Entercom’s WBEN, Buffalo.  Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle is becoming synonymous with talk radio in the market as the Buffalo native signs a long-term contract extension to remain with WBEN hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Bauerle has been with WBEN since 2002.  He started his career in the market at Entercom sister WGR in 1982.  We worked for a few years outside the market at WTKN, Tampa-St. Pete and KMOX, St. Louis before returning to Buffalo in 1991.

XEPRS, San Diego “ESPN Radio 1700” Renews with ESPN for Three Years.  San Diego sports outlet ESPN Radio 1700 announces it strikes a deal with ESPN Radio to continue airing its programming in the market for another three years.  XEPRS is owned by Broadcasting Company of the Americas and carries Mike & Mike, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Hill & Schlereth, overnight and weekend programming as well as MLB and college sports play-by-play. Broadcasting Company of the Americas VP/market manager Norman Feuer states, “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with ESPN Radio.  As San Diego’s sports leader, it’s only fitting to have a strong bond with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports.’  Programming the quality of ESPN Radio deserves a home in San Diego. We are proud to have our stations as that home.”

WSSP, Milwaukee Adds Ted Davis to PM Drive Show.  Ted Davis has served as the voice of Milwaukee Bucks basketball for the past 15 seasons.  Now, he adds a regular role at Entercom’s sports talk WSSP “Sportsradio 1250” where he’ll be part of “The Big Show” afternoon program with Steve “Sparky” Fifer, Ramie Makhlouf and Gary Ellerson.  Program director Tom Parker says Davis will begin during the basketball season adding hoops analysis.  “Ted will weigh in on the day’s top Wisconsin sports stories.  Of course he’ll share his unique perspective on Milwaukee basketball.  Ted is a sports talk pro who knows what fans want and will tell it like it is.”

Odds & Sods.  Entercom promotes WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and WEEI-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts general manager David Oldread to director of sales and operations for the Worcester, Springfield and WVEI-FM Providence outlets for the Boston-based WEEI sports talk brand…..SiriusXM will broadcast a special “town hall” broadcast with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell live from SiriusXM studios on October 22.  NFL great Michael Strahan (also co-host of ABC TV’s “Live with Kelly and Michael” and analyst on “Fox NFL Sunday” ) will interview Goodell and the commissioner will take questions from the live studio audience…..CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia donates $5,000 to Michael Vick’s Team Vick Foundation.  Vick says, “The city of Philadelphia embraced me, welcomed me here when the Eagles signed me – giving me a second chance to play the game that I love.  We at Team Vick Foundation are thankful to CBS Radio for supporting our work in the community and look forward to lasting partnership.”…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will air abbreviated editions of its “Sports Night” program to carry the two remaining presidential debates as well as the vice-presidential debate.  The VP debate is Thursday, October 11 and the two presidential debates are on October 16 and 22.

KDKA, Pittsburgh Hosts Marcellus Shale Expo.  The possibility of large natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale is a major ongoing story for Western Pennsylvania and CBS Radio’s KDKA is hosting a Marcellus Shale Expo on Thursday, October 11.  The event is sponsored by Range Resources, a developer of natural gas extraction technology.  The day’s events will include panel discussions hosted by KDKA’s Mike Pintek and Robert Mangino and will include representatives: Frank Brooks Robinson, Jr., of the Governor’s Action Team; Petra Mitchell from Catalyst Connection and Rep. Jim Christiana from Beaver County.  Afternoon session panelists include Alan Eichler of District Oil & Gas Operations; Rep. Marc Gergely from Allegheny County and John Ubinger from PA Environmental Council.  Matt Pitzarella from Range Resources will serve on both panels.  Mike Pintek will broadcast his program on site from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Hearst Television President David Barrett to Receive Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2013 Golden Mike Award.  Awarded annually to a broadcasting executive who has championed the BFoA’s mission, the 2013 Golden Mike Award will be given to Hearst Television president and CEO David Barrett at a gala black-tie fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on February 25.  Broadcasters Foundation of American chairman Philip J. Lombardo states, “David has been a vigorous champion of the Foundation’s mission to help broadcasters who are in desperate need.  David’s exemplary leadership at Hearst, his commitment to the Foundation’s charitable cause, and his dedication to community service have earned him this acknowledgement.  We are proud to honor him.”

Newt Talks Politics with Alan Stock.  Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (and recent presidential candidate) poses for a photo with KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock at the Beasley news/talk station’s studios.  Gingrich appeared on Stock’s program to talk about the presidential race and took calls from listeners.

Presidential Race Polls, Obama ‘Big Bird’ Ad Controversy, Romney Foreign Policy Speech, and Jerry Sandusky Sentenced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9).  New polling data showing Mitt Romney gaining on or pulling ahead of President Obama; the controversy of the use of the Children’s Television Workshop’s Big Bird in an Obama ad; Mitt Romney’s recent foreign policy speech; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, October 5, 2012

| October 5, 2012

Entercom’s Sports WEEI Splits AM and FM Signals Today.  The AM and FM signals of Entercom’s Boston-based sports talk radio giant WEEI split earlier this morning with the Boston FM signal at 93.7 continuing the local talk with the established lineup of Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni, “The Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley, and “Planet Mikey” with Mike Adams.  The AM signal at 850 is now “ESPN on WEEI” and features the lineup of ESPN Radio sports talk shows beginning with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” SVP & Russillo, “ESPN Today,” Hill & Schlereth or play-by-play, “SportsCenter Tonight,” and “SportsCenter All Night.”  Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are broadcasting from Gillette Stadium this morning to celebrate their arrival in the Boston market.  ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller states, “We’re pleased to team with Boston’s preeminent sports radio outlet and one of the nation’s best radio broadcasting companies in Entercom to bring the number one national network into New England.  This move, coupled with the existing presence of ESPNBoston.com, provides Boston’s passionate fans the best of ESPN’s national and local coverage and analysis.”

Cox Media Group to Debut Georgia News Service in January.  The multi-media service will be based out of Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta studio and bring together the assets of WSB, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and ABC TV affiliate WSB-TV to produce news content.  Scott Smith – market manager for Cox Media in Athens, Georgia – is being charged with heading the operation.  Cox Media Atlanta vice president and general manager Ben Reed says, “The Cox name has long been synonymous with excellent news coverage throughout the state of Georgia.  This gives us the opportunity to bring our experience and assets together in order to provide a high-quality news service to outlets across the state of Georgia.  We believe the Georgia News Service will very quickly become an invaluable audio, visual, and digital resource for news outlets across the state.  We look forward to providing them with the high-caliber news coverage that has become a Cox tradition.”  Clear Channel has been operating the Georgia News Network out of former news/talk WGST’s studios but is closing down the bureau.

ESPN Radio Extends Contract of Ryen Russillo; Changes Name of Afternoon Show to ‘SVP & Russillo.’  Ryen Russillo has been the co-host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET Scott Van Pelt show on ESPN Radio since May of 2009.  Now, the sports entertainment giant extends Russillo’s deal and, to give him more visibility, changes the name of the show from “The Scott Van Pelt Show” to “SVP & Russillo.”  He says, “Over the last three years ‘The Scott Van Pelt Show’ has been my number one priority, and I couldn’t be happier that, for the next few years, it will remain my priority.  I believe in the direction of this show and am really looking forward to where we are going.”  In addition to his co-hosting duties with Van Pelt, Russillo also hosts the 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm ET edition of College GameDay during the football season.

Dave Ramsey Goes West.  Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey was in Phoenix and Fresno this week for two live events.  First, Ramsey presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Fresno for the benefit of the audience and affiliate KMJ-FM.  Ramsey discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage.  Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-FM saw the direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station.  PD Skip Essick says, “Dave Ramsey has an incredible, loyal following, and selling out Saroyan Theater not only speaks to the quality of talent we have in him, but the drawing power of ‘105.9, The FM KMJ.’”  Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Phoenix on Wednesday for a packed house at Central Christian Church.  Brett Rogers is the sales manager for affiliate KTAR-FM and he says, “KTAR is proud to be a part of bringing this unique training to Arizona’s business community.  Through this event, we’ve been able to bring some of our best local partners and provide them the opportunity to change their business and also personally meet Dave Ramsey and have a money-can’t-buy experience.  This event has given us the opportunity to engage with our clients in a unique, personal environment.”  Dave Ramsey is pictured here with the sales staff of Bonneville’s KTAR-FM.

Brown Corners Hickenlooper.  That’s KHOW, Denver talk show host (and former Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration) Michael Brown in the center with the microphone trying to get Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (left) on the air on KHOW during the live broadcast prior to Wednesday’s presidential debate at the University of Denver.  Brown co-hosts “The Rundown” with author, columnist and talk host David Sirota during PM drive on KHOW and program director Dan Mandis tells TALKERS the duo have had a hard time getting Governor Hickenlooper to appear on their program so Brown took advantage of the governor’s appearance at the event to ask some questions.  However, shortly after this photo was taken the governor had to make other appearances and promised to stop by the KHOW remote broadcast booth later but did not.

WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia’s Angelo Cataldi Donates to Heart Association.  Making good on his pre-season pledge to donate $10 to the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania in honor of Richie Ashburn Memorial Homeruns for Hearts for each home run hit by the Phillies this season, WIP morning drive host Angelo Cataldi is pictured here writing the ceremonial check for $1,580 dollars matching the Phillies’ 158 homers.  The Homeruns for Hearts event was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to live out their major league dreams. It made its debut in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease. In addition, the event also honors longtime Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who also died of heart disease in 2009.

Stitcher Launches Podcast and On Demand Radio Awards.  The web aggregator Stitcher has announced the launch of the Stitcher Awards, to celebrate the best of on demand radio and podcasts for 2012. Listeners can nominate their favorite shows across 20 different categories – from Best Comedy to Best New Show. Stitcher now has over 10,000 different shows streaming on demand. Nominations will be open until October 19th. Fans can nominate their shows every day for the next two weeks at www.stitcher.com/stitcherawards or on the company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stitcherradio.  The finalists will be announced shortly afterwards for each category and the winners will be named live in San Francisco in December.

Rick Kaplan Joins NAB as EVP, Strategic Planning. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that former top FCC staffer Rick Kaplan has been hired as executive vice president, Strategic Planning. In this newly created position that will deal primarily with television, Kaplan will lead NAB’s efforts related to spectrum and innovation policy. His first day is Oct. 22. “We are delighted to announce the hiring of Rick Kaplan, whose credibility and integrity are well-recognized both at the Commission and in telecom circles in Washington,” says NAB president/CEO Gordon Smith. “His expertise on spectrum issues will benefit broadcasters greatly as we work with policymakers to ensure a robust local television business for decades to come.”

Odds & Sods.  Mixed martial arts is a big draw for the young male demo and “UFC on FX” has been good to the Fox-owned cable channel.  Fox Sports Radio Network has been simulcasting “UFC on FX” and continues with tonight’s “UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot” live from the Target Center in Minneapolis.  After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe hosts a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 7 pm to 10 pm PT…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces he’s ending his daily live internet talk show due to financial considerations but will continue with various multi-media projects including his new YouTube channel, podcasts and blog.  Donahue says he remains available for guest hosting and for guest interviews…..Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan are out as the radio play-by-play announcers for Houston Astros baseball.  The club announces it is beginning the search for their replacements immediately.  Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston is the club’s flagship station.

NJBA Comments Incorporated into Federal Legislation.  Pro-radio crusader Paul S. Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, reports positive progress in his organization’s efforts to influence the interests of the radio industry in government circles. The House of Representatives recently passed the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2903), which authorizes the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and makes improvements to the system including language that broadcasters requested in several key areas: 1. The bill creates an IPAWS Advisory Committee to ensure that the various federal agencies that have a part in the governance of the IPAWS are conducting an ongoing dialogue with message disseminators. (Broadcasters will be represented on the IPAWS advisory committee); and 2. The bill establishes a comprehensive and periodic training program to instruct and educate Federal, State, Tribal, and local government officials in the use of the Common Alerting Protocol enabled Emergency Alert System.  Importantly, the bill requires that this training be integrated into the National Incident Management System, which is the Department of Homeland Security’s emergency management doctrine used across the United States to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management and response.  By incorporating the NJBA’s comments regarding EAS training into the National Incident Management System, state and local emergency managers will have to participate in EAS training in order to receive federal homeland security grant funding. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has been considering its own IPAWS bill.

14.8 Million More Americans Watched the Presidential Debate.  According to a report from TVbytheNumbers, the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign on Wednesday evening saw a big spike in the number of people who tuned in compared to the first debate in 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain.  Then, 52.4 million Americans tuned in.  On Wednesday, 67.2 million people watched the debate on one of the 12 networks that carried it.  Of the big three networks that carried it, ABC grabbed the most viewers with 11.2 million.

First Presidential Debate Victory Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 1-5.  The build-up to the first presidential debate and the post-debate analysis was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM.  The investigation of the Libya consulate attack that claimed the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others was #2.  At #3 was the controversy over President Obama’s 2007 speech before a black audience in which he questions why the largely African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina didn’t receive the same assistance as victims of other disasters.  Following at #4 was analysis of the presidential campaign polls.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week, based on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

| June 25, 2012

ESPN Responds to CBS Sports Radio Announcement.  Well, not specifically to last week’s announcement by CBS of its planned CBS Sports Radio network division, but it may have been a factor (wink, wink).  ESPN sends a reminder to the industry underscoring it how pervasive the sports media organization’s audio content is, signed by SVP production, business divisions Traug Keller, who states, “We’re used to competition.  ESPN Audio has built an unparalleled mix of high-quality events and national sports talk programming over the last 20 years.  We are well positioned in the marketplace through our diverse audio platforms.”  The release goes on to note it counts 700 affiliate stations in the U.S. – 300 of which it terms full-time affiliates.  It also says it reaches 24 million listeners each week.

Programming Changes at Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago; Greg Jarrett to AM Drive.  According to Chicagoland Radio and Media, Merlin Media is making changes to the lineup at “FM News 101.1” beginning today with the arrival of Greg Jarrett in AM drive.  Jarrett, the news pro who most recently served as morning host at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, joins the morning drive program co-anchoring with Monica DeSantis.  The move bumps Rob Hart and Mary Ellen Geist to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon shift.  The site also reports Merlin is adding some “expanded news” programming – apparently a euphemism for “talk show” – to the schedule with John Czahor beginning a 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show.  And there is still a lot of chatter in Chicago about Erich “Mancow” Muller getting an afternoon talk show on the station.  He, and others including Jeff Pinkus, Kevin Matthews and Jim Laski, have been taking turns hosting talk shows in the afternoons on the station.  But so far there is no official word about the permanent addition of any talk show to the lineup.

New York Public Radio Names NY Times Editor Jim Schachter News VP.  WNYC-FM, New York announces The New York Times associate managing editor Jim Schachter will exit the paper and become the pubcaster’s vice president of news on July 9.  He’ll be responsible for WNYC, the New Jersey Public Radio stations it recently acquired, the data news unit and the political site, It’s A Free Country.  President and CEO Laura Walker says of Schachter, “He has a vibrant vision, an appetite for innovation, and a keen understanding of engaging audiences.  This will bolster our ambitious plans to grow our news content and increase our reporting capacity across all platforms.  We’re delighted that he is joining us at a moment when the need for serious journalism has never been more urgent.”

Digital Audio Service TuneIn Adds Fox News Radio and Bloomberg to Its Stable.  The global digital audio service is quickly reaching deals with major radio and internet audio content providers and now announces it has added Fox News Radio and Bloomberg Radio to its affiliate list.  TuneIn tallies more than 20 major broadcast groups as partners and the addition of Fox News Radio means TuneIn users can hear the network’s top- and bottom-of-the-hour newscasts as well as longform talk shows “Kilmeade and Friends,” John Gibson, Tom Sullivan, Alan Colmes, “Fox Across America with Spencer Hughes” and more.  TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We are committed to achieving the varied goals of our broadcast partners, whether they’re growing their audiences, monetizing their streams or growing their digital footprint.  Broadcasters have already responded enthusiastically to our current offerings.  We will continue to innovate – as we always have – to ensure the best experience for broadcasters, and listeners, everywhere.”

Six Leading Radio Networks Organize Network Radio Compliance Council.  Six of the top American radio networks are announcing the formation of the NRCCNetwork Radio Compliance Council – whose mission is to “establish best practices, providing advertisers, agencies and radio stations with better tools for the placement and reporting of commercial audio.”  The NRCC consists of the six RADAR-rated network organizations: American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global, Premiere Networks and United Stations Radio Networks.  The council elects Meg Montury of Premiere Networks as chair and Chris Buehler of Dial Global as vice chair.  In a statement, the council will host quarterly meetings with invited guests, including radio vendors, ad agencies and additional network radio companies.  Montury says, “Given the vast industry experience of members of this council, we are excited to be working together as an industry to enhance the accountability of network radio.  Technology over the past five years has enabled us all to deliver even more precision and accuracy for our clients.  The NRCC can only further solidify these efforts.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles is honored with two Southern California Journalism Awards for editorial excellence from the Los Angeles Press Club at yesterday’s 54th Southern California Journalism Awards dinner.  KNX won in the “News” category for its “Shutdown Occupy L.A.” piece and in the “Investigative” category for “The Strange Case of Dr. Ehab Mohamed.”…..La Crosse Radio Group flips WLFN, La Crosse, Wisconsin from standards to talk with local host Bob Schmidt in AM drive, WIBA, Madison-based Vicki McKenna in PM drive plus Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish…..CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is sponsoring a lunch and live broadcast to honor first responders and benefit the St. Louis County Police Welfare Association.  Along with local sponsors Lane House Construction and CiCi’s Pizza, the former will buy lunch for all first responders who join the event on Thursday, June 28 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm during which the station’s Martin Kilcoyne and Trish Gazall will broadcast live and donations to the association will be accepted…..Boston jazz buffs are lamenting the imminent disappearance of WGBH-FM, Boston’s evening jazz programming as the non-com announces it will add more spoken-word content to the program schedule this summer.  There’s no official evening programming schedule announcement yet but the station has recently added expanded programming from NPR…..“Car Clinic” radio host Bobby Likis says he’s extended his collaboration with the Renewable Fuels Association on its ethanol educational outreach.  The outreach includes the “Calling All Technicians…20 Facts About Ethanol” feature on the Car Clinic Network, which is designed to enlighten, educate and energize automotive technicians with verifiable facts, studies and statistics on ethanol…..Galaxy Communications’ classic rock simulcast of WTKW-FM, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV-FM, Oswego, New York are the new central New York affiliate stations for Buffalo Bills football games this season…..Al Warren retires from his weekend morning program at Cumulus Media’s WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 1.  Warren began working with WICC in 1965.

KDOW, San Francisco Producer Wins Award for “Phil’s Gang” Promotion.  Salem Communications’ KDOW, San Francisco producer Mark Morris is recognized in the 2011 International Radio and Production Awards for his production work on the “Waltzing with Phil Grande” promotion.  The business talk-formatted station carries the nationally syndicated “Phil’s Gang” talk program hosted by Phil Grande.  Grande states, “We are proud of Mark and thankful for all his hard work for the ‘Phil’s Gang’ radio show.  This high-level award is the crème of the industry and everyone at ‘Phil’s Gang’ congratulates Mark on this leading international award honoring his excellence in broadcasting.”