Tag: "U.S. Senate"

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

| February 27, 2018

Liberty Media Puts in Offer for iHeartMedia Ownership.  Out of the blue, Liberty Media – controlling owner of SiriusXM and minority stakeholder in Pandora – is offering $1.159 billion for a 40% stake in the new iHeartMedia.  This comes as iHeartMedia is very close to defaulting on a $103 million debt payment that could push the company into bankruptcy.  As it stands, iHeartMedia is negotiating with senior creditors to arrive at a pre-packaged bankruptcy that would greatly reduce the company’s $20 billion in debt in exchange for equity.  The Liberty offer is designed not to replace the current offer by senior creditors but to add Liberty to the mix.  Liberty’s offer is for a 20% stake held by Liberty, another 20% held by SiriusXM, four seats on the new company’s nine-member board, and Clear Channel Outdoor would be spun off as a taxable transaction.  Some experts say this offer has no chance of being accepted.  Sources quoted in a New York Post story say the offer undervalues iHM’s 850 radio stations – putting its value of iHeartMedia at $7.5 billion, less than the $8.5 billion Franklin Resources places on it.  Franklin is leading the senior creditors group.  One source expects iHM to proceed with a bankruptcy filing on March 3.

Post Theater Columnist Michael Riedel Named WOR, New York Morning Co-Host.  It’s been four months since radio talk host Todd Schnitt exited iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR.  He’d been co-hosting the morning program with Len Berman but was unable to come to terms on a renewal agreement.  Now, the company announces that New York Post theater critic Michael Riedel will join Berman on 710 WOR for the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” program.  In addition to his work for the Post, Riedel hosted the PBS program “Theater Talk” for 24 years and published the best-seller, Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway.  iHeartMedia calls the new show a “four-hour variety show, showcasing the most important stories of the day to New Yorkers, including local news, entertainment, humor, political stories, and interviews with newsmakers and celebrities.”  WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “After a four-month search, we are super fortunate to have a triple-triple threat like Michael joining WOR.  He has been a successful newspaper writer for decades.  He co-hosted a TV show for over 20 years and now he’s joining us in a full-time capacity to pursue a lifelong passion for radio.”  Len Berman is quoted saying, “I couldn’t be more excited to have Michael as my new co-host,” said Berman.  I loved working with him when he was guest hosting.  We come from two different worlds: Michael from newspaper and Broadway, me from TV and sports.  Factor in that we don’t see eye to eye politically and I’m convinced it all adds up to entertaining morning radio.”

The Honorable Senator from California, Mr. Michael Savage?  Is this just Savage shtick or is Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Michael Savage really serious about being courted to challenge Dianne Feinstein for her U.S. Senate seat?  The Los Angeles Times reports Savage told his audience that “some very important people” are asking him to run for the seat as an independent, and he put the question of whether he should run to his audience.  Though it’s hard to imagine the 76-year-old talk host giving up his radio show (he’d have to, right?) and traveling all over the Golden State to campaign (an exhausting business, to be sure), Savage has wasted no time in using this to express his political wish list for California.  Savage says his platform would include such polarizing issues as eliminating multi-lingual ballots (English only) and building a wall on the Mexican border that would be a “citadel,” all while lowering California’s tax rate (that’s not really up to the U.S. Senate, though).  The Times notes that Feinstein, who was just dealt a blow by the California Democratic Party with its non-endorsement of her as she seeks a fifth full term, has a war chest of $9.8 million.

FOX News Radio’s Todd Starnes to Moderate NRB Conference Panel.  The focus of the panel will be Internet censorship and will talk place Thursday (3/1) as part of the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Nashville.  FOX News Radio nationally syndicated personality Todd Starnes will moderate the panel discussion with panelists including Salem Radio Network personalities Larry Elder and Dennis Prager, plus Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, and Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser.

SRN’s Tom Tradup at World Premiere of New Christian Film. Christian musical artist Brandon Heath (left) is pictured here with Salem Radio Network vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) last night (2/26) at the world premiere of the film, I Can Only Imagine, based on the hit song by Mercy Me.  Tradup was joined on the red carpet by stars Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins, and artists Mandisa, Michael W. Smith and others.

TALKERS News Notes. College station WRHU, Hempstead, New York “Radio Hofstra University 88.7 FM” is airing the Long Island Nets Coach’s Show every Friday at 4:00 pm, hosted by WRHU’s Bryan Clark and featuring Nets coach Ronald Nored.  WRHU airs play-by-play of the NBA G League team that’s affiliated with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets…..SiriusXM is broadcasting games from 24 NCAA Division I college basketball conference tournaments this postseason, offering live play-by-play of 134 men’s and women’s conference tournament games to a nationwide audience.  It will air every men’s tournament game from the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, American Athletic, and Mountain West conferences, and select games from the Ivy League Tournament.  Listeners also get every game of the Women’s ACC and SEC Tournaments.  Conference tournament broadcasts heard on SiriusXM are produced by ESPN Radio, Westwood One, IMG, Learfield, and Compass Media.

Gun Control Debate, Parkland Shooting Investigation, NRA vs Delta, Trump-Russia Investigation, SCOTUS Declines Trump Request on ‘Dreamers’ Policy, Universal Basic Income Proposals, Xi Jinping Power Grab, PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6).  The debate over gun control issues in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school massacre; the investigation into prior complaints about Nikolas Cruz and whether police acted appropriately during the shooting; the NRA’s lashing out at Delta and other companies for ending their business relationships with the lobbying organization; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the Supreme Court declines to rule immediately on President Trump’s wish to kill the DACA; the proposals for a universal basic income for those Americans below the poverty line; the move by Chinese president Xi Jinping to eliminate his term limit and remain president indefinitely; the post-mortem on the PyeyongChang Winter Games; and NBA action 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. On-air pro Nicholaus “Niko” Petrou is named morning co-host at Entercom’s Phoenix country outlet KMLE “@ 107.9.”  Niko is partnering with Nina D. for KMLE’s new “The Breakfast Buzz” program.  He was most recently at the company’s New York alternative station WBMP “Alt 92.3” as APD, music director and midday personality.  He also worked in NYC as evening personality at CHR WHTZ “Z100.”  Niko says, “After almost 20 years in the radio industry, I’m looking forward to taking on the challenge of mornings.  Given the opportunity to work with such a legendary team and station, I’m excited to bring what I have to offer to Phoenix.  A huge thanks to Tim Richards, Dave Pugh, Mike Moore, Chris Oliviero and Pat Paxton for the confidence in me. Nina D. and I are going to have a blast waking up the KMLE Nation.”…..In Albany, Pamal Broadcasting is announcing two new executives who’ve joined the organization.  A.J. Bodden is named market manager for the six-station radio cluster in Albany.  He comes to Pamal from Townsquare Media where he managed a division of the company’s corporate live events business.  Simultaneously, John Damboragian is named Pamal’s new director of digital and will oversee digital sales and assets for all of Pamal’s 23 radio stations.  He was most recently digital manager for Gannett Media in New York’s Westchester County.

Monday, January 16, 2017

| January 16, 2017

Report: Laura Ingraham Considering Run for Virginia Senate Seat.  According to a report in the Washington Examiner, talk show host – and Trump adviser – Laura Ingraham is seriously debating whether to throw her hat into the ring for a run for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat currently held by Hillary Clinton’s 2016ingrahamlaura running mate, Tim Kaine.  The Examiner’s Paul Bedard writes that “several party insiders have approached the media giant to run and that she is considering it.  In preparation for a bid, her business partner, Peter Anthony, has begun buying website domains for Ingraham to use should she decide to move forward.  It includes: ingrahamsenate.net, ingrahamsenate.com, ingrahamforvirginia.com and ingraham2018.com.”   The story also notes that Virginia U.S. Representatives Barbara Comstock and Dave Brat – both Republicans – are considering challenging Kaine.  See the Examiner story here.

iHeartMedia Execs Nab Big Bonuses.  These bonuses – approved last Tuesday by the iHeartMedia board of directors – are retention bonuses.  Here’s what the board approved: chairman and CEO Bob Pittman gets $1.75pittmanbob million; COO and CFO Rich Bressler gets the same; and SVP of corporate finance Steven Macri is awarded $750,000.  Because they are retention bonuses, the three must remain employed by the bresslerrichardcompany for two years after the effective date of January 12, 2017 or they must repay 100% of the after-tax value of the bonus.  If either is terminated without cause, leaves for a “good reason,” or due to death or disability before the first anniversary of the effective date, they must pay back 50% of the after-tax value.  Additionally, the board of directors approved the 2017 Key Employee Incentive Plan in which Pittman and Bressler can earn bonuses of up to $7,000,000 and $3,000,000 respectively during the year for hitting quarterly performance goals set by the compensation committee of the board of directors.

Cumulus Media’s Mary Berner Pockets $1 Million-plus Bonus.  Unlike the retention bonuses paid to iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman and others (see story above), this payment to Cumulus Media president and CEObernermary Mary Berner is a “one-time discretionary cash incentive compensation award” of $1,087,500 for “her exceptional efforts and contributions during 2016, both individually and as a member of the management leadership team, in the initial phase of the company’s operational turnaround plan and ongoing operational and financial restructuring.”  The board of directors notes that this award is in lieu of any award she may have received under its annual incentive plan for 2016.

Charlie Sykes to Take Part in Public Radio Show.  The Milwaukee radio icon retired from E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of 2016 after a 23-year career with the news/talk station.  Now, Charlie Sykes is part of a new, national call-in talk show being produced in what is a cooperative venture by WNYC, New York, Minnesota Public sykescharlieRadio and The Economist.  According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes will be one of four co-hosts of the program titled, “Indivisible.”  The other hosts are: WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, The Nation features editor Kai Wright, and MPR’s personality Kerri Miller.  Sykes will not be heard on the radio in his home market because his non-compete prevents local pubcaster WUWM from airing the show.  Under the terms of Sykes’ deal with WTMJ, any radio show on which Sykes appears during the term of the non-compete must air on WTMJ.  The station asked to air the new show but NPR is not giving consent.

WHpressbriefingroomWill Talk Show Hosts Get Access to Trump Press Conferences?  On Sunday (1/15), Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer told FOX News that the president-elect is considering moving press briefings to a larger location due to “off-the-charts” interest in the new administration.  Spicer said, “There’s a lot of talk radio and bloggers and people that can’t fit in right now and maybe don’t have a permanency because they’re not part of the Washington elite media, but to allow them an opportunity to ask the press secretary or the president a question is a positive thing.  It’s more democratic.”  The Brady press room (pictured) in the West Wing only holds 49 people.  However, the White House Correspondents’ Association is concerned about the move, in part because it fears the media could be moved from the press work space behind the Brady press room, according to a statement from WHCA president Jeff Mason.  He says that space is important because it is close to West Wing staffers whom the press rely on for news.  Spicer says he’ll work with the WHCA on any changes.

Trump Inauguration Protests, ObamaCare Replacement Plans, U.S.-Russia Relations, Orlando Cop Killer Search, Davos Economic Forum, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ringling Brothers Circus to Close, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The planned protests and Democratic members of Congress planning to skip Donald Trump’s Inauguration on Friday; the GOP’s plans to replace the Affordable Care Act; the relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the United States with Trump set to take office; the search for the man police believe killed Orlando police officer Debra Clayton; this week’s meeting of world leaders at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland; today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; Ringling Brothers’ decision to shutter the 146-year-old circus; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Odds & Sods.  Nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates tofreemanedge its roster, including: WNIX-AM/FM, Greeneville, Mississippi; KLKS-FM, Brainerd, Minnesota; KHMO-AM, Hannibal, Missouri; and WBNW, Concord/Boston…..Teenage conservative talk show host Caiden Cowger announces his show is added to the program schedule at Kol Ami Havurah-owned WDUQ-LPFM, Benwood, West Virginia “Beautiful Music 99.1.”  This is the fourth affiliate station for Cowger’s program.  The one-hour show airs evenings at 9:00 pm…..In the San Antonio market, Cox Media Group drops the sports talk programming on KONO-AM after three years as a CBS Sports Radio affiliate and is now airing an oldies format.

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RadioInfo Web bannerMusic Radio News and Career Moves.  In San Diego, air personality Sam Bass moves from middays to weekends on hot AC KYXY for personal reasons.  Moving into his slot on the CBS RADIO station is Joe Rosati, who slides over from sister CHR KEGY “Energy 103.7.”  Program director Chris Patyk promotes evening personality Alexia Gloria to middays on KEGY to fill Rosati’s old slot…..There are a few promotions to report at the Nashville operations of Midwest Communications.  First, Barbara Bridges – currently adult contemporary WJXA brand manager – is upped to operations manager for the entire cluster.  Second, afternoon drive host Joe Breezy is adding brand manager duties to his work at CHR WNFN “i106.7.”  Finally, WNFN midday personality Butter Harper takes on assistant brand manager responsibilities for the station…..Chad Valentine exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100” as the result of his position being eliminated.  He was assistant program director and music director there…..Alexa Smith exits her role as program director at Sierra H Broadcasting’s hip hop KNRJ, Cordes Lakes, Arizona and rhythmic oldies KAJM, Camp Verde, Arizona after three months in the position.  Prior to that, she’d been APD at CBS RADIO’s rhythmic AC KTWV, Los Angeles “94.7 The Wave.”

Thursday, August 20, 2015

| August 20, 2015

BorrellBorrell Expects Record $11.4 Billion in Political Advertising. That would be roughly 20% more (next year) than in the 2012 presidential election year. Radio is expected to receive nearly $400 million (or approximately 34%) of national money. On the state and local level, radio’s windfall will be somewhere in the vicinity of $790 million. According to Borrell, the average presidential candidate will spend $120 million; the typical candidate for a U.S. Senate seat will spend $7 million; and it will be common for a candidate running for the U.S. House to spend $1.6 million. Media companies in California and Texas will see $1.2 billion and $896 million, respectively. There will be big spending elsewhere as well, especially where close contests are expected such as Florida ($800 million), Virginia ($459 million), and Colorado ($295 million). Borrell estimates that in 2016, digital media will break the $1 billion level for the first time.

boldgoldmediagroup logoBold Gold Media Group Celebrates 10 Years ‘On Air, Online, Mobile, Social, Live & Local.’ Recognizing its 10th anniversary, Bold Gold Media Group – led by entrepreneur and former Air Force special agent Vince Benedetto – celebrates the success it’s achieved as a “hyper-localized and future-built broadcast company.”  The company says it “owns and operates nine full-power radio stations, 15 total broadcast frequencies, multiple live internet streams, seven websites, over 20 social media sites, an online local news site, an online e-commerce marketplace, multiple tower properties, a live broadcast studio inside the Northeast PA based Mohegan Sun Pocono casino complex, and its award-winning RadioBOLD mobile app and DigitalBOLD platforms…collectively reaches millions of ears and eyes on a weekly basis across all of its platforms.”  Benedetto says, “It’s extremely hard to believe it’s already been 10 years.  My team and I have had a lot of fun…We love how both our company and our industry have evolved and grown.  This is the most exciting time to be in broadcasting, especially if you’re a young person, and we’re looking forward to the next 10 years of growth and evolution!”

guthriekimCMG’s Guthrie NamedTrailblazer” Recipient. This will be the seventh time The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group is giving this particular recognition; this year’s honoree is Cox Media Group executive vice president of national ad platforms/Cox Reps president Kim Guthrie. MIW Radio Group spokesperson Kay Olin comments, “Kim Guthrie is an accomplished broadcaster who ‘trail-blazes’ in all aspects of her professional life. Kim has been a passionate and enthusiastic ambassador for radio throughout her career. She has set a tremendous example for all women in broadcasting through her bold decision-making and inspiring leadership. Kim is intelligent, caring, approachable, and the natural choice to be honored as our 2015 Trailblazer.” Three years ago, the MIW Radio GroupMentoring Women renamed the honor – for the woman who creates opportunities for other women in radio – after MIW group member Frances Preston, BMI‘s longtime president/chief executive officer. Guthrie remarks, “I am truly humbled and touched to receive this incredible honor. What a compliment to be in the same company as the beloved Frances Preston, who truly was one of the first real female trailblazers in music and media – known not just for being a woman but for being a great leader in the industry and an even better human being. May we all uphold those same standards as we continue to pave the way for future generations of women in media.” Before her promotion two months ago, Guthrie was Cox Media Group’s executive vice president of radio. She will receive her Trailblazer award in just over six weeks (Friday, 10/2) during the “Music & Mimosas” event at the Radio Show in Atlanta.

goodelljaredWFEASaga’s WFEA, Manchester Goes Live and Local in AM Drive with Jared Goodell.  As reported by FreeKeene.com, Saga Communications-owned news/talker WFEA, Manchester, New Hampshire is bringing Jared Goodell aboard to host the morning show, effective August 25.  The youthful Goodell tells Free Keene, “I hope to usher in a new era for talk radio.  There is a lot of speculation as to the future of the format, some of which is not great.  I love talk radio and want to see it live on for many more generations.  Talk radio has always been the medium that the American people could use to amplify their voice and to hold their government accountable.”

Odds & Sods.  Two Philadelphia sports talk hosts were separated by security at the Philadelphia Eagles traininginnesjosh camp yesterday, according to Philly.comCBS RADIO’s WIP-FM afternoon host Josh Innes and missanellimikeGreater Media’s WPEN-FM Mike Missanelli got into a verbal argument on the sidelines and were kept apart by security as it appeared the two radio rivals were about to get physical…..In Chicago, Cumulus Media is going to court to recoup money it alleges is owed it by the Dailey Law Firm, P.C.  The firm brokered time on WLS-AM for its “The Law Show” and Cumulus, in a suit filed in U.S. District Court, claims it is owned $112,000 for the time, spots and online presence…..KTBZ, Tulsa sports talk host Chris Plank leaves the station after 18 years to join Oklahoma University’s Sooner Sports Radio Network and Sooner Sports TV.  According to the Tulsa World, Plank will resume his nationally syndicated sports talk radio program “FOX Sports Overtime” on FOX Sports Radio Network that he co-hosts with Arnie Spanier.  That show airs Sunday nights from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.

WEEIJimmyFund15Boston Sports Team Owners Support WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon; Total Raised to Exceed $3 Million. As of late on Wednesday evening, the 2015 Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute had raised a little more than $3 million.  Additional donations are expected to trickle in over the next few days but that figure brings the 14-year total for this annual fundraiser to more than $40 million.  The joint effort between Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston and regional sports cable network NESN was a two-day simulcast focusing on the work to treat and cure cancer at Dana Farber.  Pictured here taking part in the “Owners Roundtable” were (from l-r): The Boston Bruins’ Charlie Jacobs, the New England Patriots’ Johnathan Kraft, WEEI’s Dale Arnold, WEEI’s Michael Holley, the Boston Celtics’ Wyc Grousbeck, and the Boston Red Sox’ John Henry.

Trump’s Immigration Plan, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Hillary Clinton Emails Issue, North and South Korean Tensions, Black Lives Matter Movement, Ashley Madison Hacking Case, Jared Fogle Pleads Guilty to Child Sex-Porn Charges, Western Wildfires, ISIS Cairo Bombing, Deflategate Controversy, and Jimmy Carter Cancer Diagnosis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/19).  The continuing chatter about GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to fix U.S. immigration problems; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server; the military flare-up between North and South Korea; the Black Lives Matter movement; the hacking and posting of data from the Ashley Madison service that purports to connect married people wishing to have affairs; former Subway marketing figure Jared Fogle to plead guilty to child sex and child porn charges; the spate of wildfires plaguing several Western states; ISIS claims responsibility for the deadly bombing in Cairo; the state of the NFL versus Tom Brady in the “Deflategate” matter; and former President Jimmy Carter’s announcement he’s being treated for cancer were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

It’s a Political Ad War

| February 26, 2014

Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

BRADENTON, Fla. —  Sales departments in many markets – and corporate accounting departments across the industry – are aware how important political advertising is as a revenue stream.   The every-other-year nature of the political ad cycle plays havoc with annual sales goals but the money that is out there during political season is worth going after and is not just for major or large market, highly rated stations or stations in traditional “battleground” states or districts.  Stations of all sizes and corporate affiliation can try to take advantage of some of the tactics used in bringing in political money.  Here are some pointers for stations and shows that might have previously believed that they are either too small or “unconnected” to play in this valuable arena.

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