Tag: "Walter Sabo"

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

| November 24, 2020

Takeaways from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the first round of Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey that included the markets New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Some observations of note from this group of markets: iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York enters the top 10 in NYC (#9) on the strength of its weekly, 6+ AQH share of 3.6; Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas rockets up to #4 after posting a 1.6 share jump to a 4.9 share; and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (11.5 share) maintains its hold on the #1 position for the 17th straight PPM survey. Check out Mike Kinosian’s complete ratings takeaways from this round of markets that look at the news/talk, all-news, sports talk, and public radio news/talk formats here.

WLS-AM, Chicago Officially Names Bruce St. James Morning Host. The story of talk radio pro Bruce St. James being named the new morning drive host at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago was broken last week by Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Now, the company officially announces that St. James will take over for Erich “Mancow” Muller on December 14. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “WLS 890 AM has served our Chicagoland audiences for 96 years. From John Landecker to Roe Conn to Mancow, every host has left his mark on the Big ’89 and none more so than Rush Limbaugh. In 2021, we will bring the focus back to those who matter most – our listeners. Bruce St. James is here to have a conversation with our listeners, not a lecture. He is not here to change formats. He is here to continue what 890 already does best – inform and entertain our listeners. We are thrilled to welcome Bruce to mornings on the New ’89. Bruce knows radio. And, now Chicago will know Bruce.” St. James comments, “‘Thrilled’ doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. It is an honor and privilege to host a show on the legendary WLS, and I accept the responsibility of living up to the standard set by those before me. Now, more than ever, people need to connect, as well as be informed in an entertaining way. That is our goal every morning and I look forward to getting to know the amazing city of Chicago. Now, about the weather…” St. James has worked almost exclusively in the Southwest, most recently as co-host of the late morning program on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix.

TALKERS News Notes. Today and tomorrow (11/24-25), sports media personality Jason Whitlock – who writes for Outkick.com – is filling in for Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck on his nationally syndicated late morning talk radio show…..Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman has been named to the 40 Under 40 list for 2020 by the Sacramento Business Journal. As part of the feature, the SBJ asked Kauffmann what in the industry she sees changing as a result of COVID-19. She says, “COVID-19 is accelerating rising trends of increased in-home listening via smart speakers and streaming that we were seeing pre-pandemic. I believe that will continue to increase, as more companies lean into a remote workforce and time-shifted scheduling.”…..AdLarge Media’s podcast network cabana adds three AccuWeather podcasts to its library. Joining cabana’s offerings are: “Everything Under The Sun,” “Weather Insider” with Bernie Rayno, and “This Date in Weather Industry” with AccuWeather senior meteorologist Evan Myers…..iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated “Armstrong & Getty Show” – co-hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announces it raised approximately $1.2 million for the Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station through the show’s annual “Warrior Foundation Freedom Station Give-A-Thon.” The Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station is a 501(c)3 volunteer-based organization that helps wounded vets recover both physically and mentally from service injuries. The funds raised will be used to purchase plane tickets for injured warriors so they can spend the holidays at home and with their families…..Streaming audio and on-demand service TuneIn announces that Richard Stern is named the new chief executive officer. He joins TuneIn from his most recent position as chief product officer for Audible. At the same time, the company announces that a new investment in the company led by Innovation Endeavors will serve to fund the acceleration of TuneIn’s technology innovation and market share as “one of the most widely used streaming audio platforms in the world with an unparalleled offering that brings together live sports, news, music, podcasts and radio.” Stern says, “Over 75 million listeners have come to depend on TuneIn to stay connected and informed in our fast-moving world. It’s my privilege to lead the TuneIn team on our mission to reinvent radio as a digital medium and continue to drive the live audio streaming revolution well into the future.”…..SportsGrid Radio and SiriusXM announce a deal to launch the SportsGrid Radio Channel on SiriusXM, effective January 7, 2021. SportsGrid Radio is replacing the VSiN channel, which will air on SiriusXM until December 31. SportsGrid Radio will feature the team of on-air personalities including Scott Ferrall, Gabe Morency, Ariel Epstein, and Jared Smith along with expert contributors and guest analysts.

RAB and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One to Host Presentation Focusing on Client Spot Loads. The RAB announces that as part of its Business Unusual initiative, its upcoming Open for Business live-video series episode is titled, “How Many Spots Should a Client Run in a Weekly Schedule?” The presentation features findings and takeaways from a joint spot load study conducted by the RAB and CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One. The presentation will unveil the survey results and provide sellers with a framework of guidelines to help them determine weekly spot schedules that are best suited to meet advertising clients’ campaign goals. It takes place on December 10 at 1:00 pm ET and features Cumulus Media | Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard and Cumulus Media | Westwood One director, content marketing Lauren Vetrano. The presentation is free for RAB members.

Transition Process Approved/Trump Doesn’t Concede, Biden Administration Appointments, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Holiday Travel, Israel-Saudi Arabia Relations, China’s Moon Shot, and David Dinkins Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/23). The General Services Administration begins the transition process while Donald Trump announces he’s continuing to challenge the election results; Joe Biden announces members of his administration, including John Kerry to the National Security Council; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, predictions for future cases, and warnings about traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend; the reports that Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman held a private meeting; China announces it is sending a rocket to the moon to collect samples; and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins dies 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. The annual Mayflower Marathon to benefit the Springfield Open Pantry is going virtual this year due to COVID-19. The charity event produced by Saga Communications’ WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts “Rock 102” usually features market morning legends “Bax & O’Brien” – Mike Baxendale and John O’Brien – camped out in the parking lot of the Basketball Hall of Fame for three days straight collecting food stuffs and cash. Bax tells TALKERS magazine, “Because of COVID we had to be creative and avoid violating curfews and protocols. Rather than have listeners donate non-perishables at the Hall of Fame, we are doing a 52-hour long fundraiser.  We’re encouraging listeners to donate online and over the phone for Open Pantry instead, and so far, so good. In fact, we’re actually ahead of last year, which had been our best year to date.”…..In Philadelphia, Beasley Media Group’s rock WMMR-FM morning show hosts Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison held their annual “Preston & Steve Camp Out For Hunger” event that raised over 2.5 million pounds of food and $1.4 million dollars in cash to benefit Philabundance, which offers hunger relief to needy individuals and families in the greater Philadelphia area…..iHeartMedia Boston’s country WBWL “101.7 The Bull” and WBTS-TV, “NBC10 Boston” raised more than $38,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during last Saturday evening’s “One Night Only” broadcast special. The show was broadcast on NBC10 and hosted by “101.7 The Bull” personalities Colton Bradford, Amanda Jo, and Jess. It featured performances by country artists Kane Brown, Old Dominion, Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Maren Morris, Lauren Alaina, and Jimmie Allen…..Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX-FM, Detroit is presenting the “6th Annual People Helping People” campaign to assist families in Metro Detroit who are facing challenges during the holidays. Now through December 11, listeners are nominating families in need on the air and at WCSX.com. The “Big Jim’s House Morning Show” is sharing requests they receive on behalf of needy families and is connecting them with the appropriate business donors…..WUNC Music – the music discovery streaming radio station produced by WUNC-FM in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina adds two new hosts to its schedule. Alan Thompson, a.k.a. DJ Who4thecru, comes to the station from WNCU in Durham where he hosts the “Morning Jazz” show. Susan Castle joins the WUNC Music team to host the 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm show. She is the long-time morning host at KUTX, Austin.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

| October 7, 2020

2020 Radio Show: “What Business Are You In Now?”  For years – as digital competitors horned-in-on radio Time Spent Listening, and lured advertisers – convention panels have talked-the-talk. Yet cutbacks have compromised the local content that will always be broadcasters’ silver bullet. This Radio Show session details how Neuhoff Media/Decatur walked-the-walk, and made money, during the pandemic shutdown. Read it here.

Syndicated Radio Personality Walter Sterling Says the Technical Snafu During Entercom CEO David Field’s NAB Radio Show Remarks was the ‘Single Most Important Event of the Virtual Conference.  Syndicated radio host Walter Sterling (a.k.a. Walter Sabo, the longtime radio consultant) pointed to a key takeaway from the current NAB/RAB Radio Show taking place virtually. Sterling tells TALKERS, “The key takeaway of the Radio Show was the opening of David Field’s remarks. His video/audio internet connection crashed and was unstable. That was the single most important event. It showed the high risk for any advertiser to invest in the unproven medium of online video and audio streaming. That’s why media buying companies put online video campaign money on the ‘Test Budget’ line of their spreadsheets.” Sterling adds, “Radio is a proven medium that continues to work. It has streamed to the car since 1938. Everyone knows how to access radio content, from eight to 98-year-olds and they access it because they love it. That’s the news.” Today (10/7) marks the third day of the conference.

Bloomberg: Sirius and Howard Stern Close to New Deal. According to a report by Bloomberg, SiriusXM and Howard Stern are very close to a contract extension that will pay the radio legend $120 million per year. The story quotes outgoing SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer saying at a Goldman Sachs conference that Stern is still valuable to the company. “I can tell you that we understand the economics very, very well, for instance, of content like Howard Stern. I can look every investor in the eye and tell them that is a good investment for Sirius XM.” Neither SiriusXM nor Stern’s representatives commented for the Bloomberg piece. Stern’s most recent deal, signed in 2015, is estimated to have paid him between $80 million and $100 million per year.

Forbes: Mark Levin Facebook Page Restricted. A Forbes story by Jonathan Berr indicates that the Facebook page of Westwood One nationally syndicated talk radio personality Mark Levin has been restricted for “repeated sharing of false news.” It’s not clear what Levin posted that Facebook found objectionable but Levin, via a post on the conservative platform Parler, denies the allegation of misleading users and says Facebook is guilty of “censorship” and “pushing a left-wing agenda.” He added, “Every link I post is from a legitimate source. But because so many people are seeing what I’m posting and we’re within weeks of the election, it’s clear that Facebook is trying to influence the election’s outcome.” In his story, Berr cites an NPR piece that says a half dozen “technology experts, including data scientists who have special access to Facebook’s internal metrics” that it contacted concluded “there is no statistical evidence to support the argument that Facebook does not give conservative views a fair shake.” The NPR piece goes on to say that publicly available data shows that “conservative news regularly ranks among some of the popular content on the site.”

Call for Repeal of Section 230 Raises Issues for Media Industry. The movement to repeal Section 230 of the 1990s-era Communications Decency Act – which allows users to put content on the Internet without making the platforms themselves liable – is gaining momentum with President Trump, his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, as well as numerous members of Congress calling for a change in that protection. In fact, earlier this summer the president issued an executive order asking the FCC to create new Section 230 rules and ordered the FTC to act on incidents of deceptive communication. Critics of Section 230 say it is outdated because of the ubiquity and influence of today’s social media and its role in the public discourse as well in the health and safety realms. The Republican-sponsored Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act would “condition the content moderation liability shield on an objective reasonableness standard. In order to be protected from liability, a tech company may only restrict access to content on its platform where it has ‘an objectively reasonable belief’ that the content falls within a certain, specified category.” You can read that bill here. Free speech organizations such as Fight for the Future argue bills such as the one cited here would only make matters worse. Reacting to President Trump’s recent tweet attacking Section 230, Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer says websites would become legally responsible for the opinions of its users. As a result, “social media platforms would likely engage in mass censorship and banning of accounts rather than open themselves up to lawsuits for hosting controversial opinions – Trump’s accounts would surely be among the first to go. It would strip users of key protections too. Who’s excited to get sued for retweeting something? The reality is that lawmakers from across the political spectrum are deeply misinformed about how Section 230 actually works. It feels like every week there’s a new misguided proposal in Congress. But repealing Section 230 won’t do anything to hold Big Tech companies accountable or address the harms done by their data harvesting business models. And it won’t do anything to address concerns around biased moderation or the silencing of marginalized voices.” Any changes in Section 230 would apply to audio content as well as text, images, memes, etc.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (10/13), Edison Research and NPR will present a webinar (2:00 pm ET) in which they will reveal the results of the second annual “Spoken Word Audio Report.” The data indicates that Americans’ share of listening to spoken word audio is up over 8% in the last year and in the report “NPR and Edison Research explore what is driving this increase and how news, podcasts, audiobooks, and talk radio continue to cut into time that was previously spent with music.” The study promises to reveal which listeners are spending more time with spoken word audio; how time spent with audio has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; provide excerpts from in-depth interviews that help explain changes in listening behavior; and results from a new national survey that measured these behaviors on a larger scale. Findings will be published online at the conclusion of the webinar. You can register for the webinar here…..Nielsen announces that Radio Research Consortium, Inc. signs a multi-year renewal agreement to license individual non-commercial stations for Nielsen syndicated products, including Nielsen Scarborough syndicated services. Radio Research Consortium president Joanne Church says, “As a long-term user of Nielsen data, we are looking forward to continuing our relationship as we advance our mission and commitment to provide audience data to non-commercial radio stations.”…..Cadence13, a division of Entercom’s Podcast Network, announces an exclusive partnership with Karina Longworth for “You Must Remember This,” the storytelling podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. Navigating through conflicting reports, mythology, and institutionalized spin, Longworth tries to sort out what really happened behind the films, stars, and scandals of the 20th century. Previous seasons of the show explored stars and scandals including Polly Platt, the woman behind some of the most legendary films of the 1970s and 1980s; the complicated racial and historical dynamics of Disney’s animated film Song of the South; Joan Crawford; the Hollywood Blacklist; and Charles Manson’s Hollywood.

2020 Radio Mercury Awards Announced. The 2020 Radio Mercury Awards were held virtually yesterday evening (10/6) and the Radio Advertising Bureau says that this year’s winners “will serve as a time capsule of work created during the current unusual times.” BBDO Atlanta chief creative officer Robin Fitzgerald served as chief judge for this year’s competition and says, “The innovation and creativity that we heard with this year’s winning audio truly impressed the jury. From at-home recording to using bots as talent, these winners showcased what it means to convey a brand’s message in a way that is both storytelling and story-doing.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “Tonight’s awards presentation reflects the power of radio creative and its ability to deliver for listeners and advertisers. Despite these unprecedented times, the Radio Mercury Awards winners continued to bring their all to this year’s awards and pushed the medium forward.” You can watch the program here.

Trump’s COVID-19 Case/White House Safety Protocols, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, the Presidential Race/VP Debate, Stimulus Deal Dead, Big Tech Breakup Talk/Facebook Bans QAnon, Texas Cop Charged in Shooting of Black Man, McCloskeys Indicted, California Wildfires, Hurricane Delta, Eddie Van Halen Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/6). Controversy over President Trump’s return to the White House after his COVID-19 diagnosis and the White House safety protocols; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for increased cases this fall and through the winter; the November presidential election and tonight’s vice presidential debate; Trump’s announcement that stimulus deal negotiations will be put off until after the election; chatter in Washington about breaking up the Big Tech companies and Facebook’s ban on QAnon content; a Texas police officer is charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed Black man; a St. Louis couple is charged with weapons violations and tampering with evidence after brandishing guns during protests near their home; the ongoing California wildfires; Hurricane Delta loses strength; and rock guitar legend Eddie Van Halen dies 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. Programming and on-air pro Don Chris Williams, a.k.a. “DJ Wrekk-1,” signs an extension with Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach to continue his roles as brand content director and afternoon drive host on urban AC WMBX “X102.3.” Cluster operations manager Bruce Logan comments, “We are so excited to continue our relationship with Don Chris ‘DJ Wrekk-1’ Williams! Don has done a masterful job of growing the WMBX ratings. Under Don’s leadership WMBX has achieved new rating highs and is a vital part of the West Palm Beach African American community.”…..iHeartMedia Seattle’s classic rock KZOK helped raise more than $116,000 during its 23rd annual “Rock The Harvest” radiothon to benefit Northwest Harvest, Washington State’s leading hunger relief agency that supports a statewide network of 375 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. The 12-hour broadcast was hosted by “The Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show” personalities in which listeners were encouraged to call in to the show and donate $102.50, enough funds to provide nutritious meals to a family of four for a month. Over the past 23 years, “Rock the Harvest” has raised more than $1.3 million to benefit Northwest Harvest.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

| November 6, 2018

Entercom Q3 Report: Revenue ‘Improved Significantly.’ It was almost a year ago that Entercom closed on its acquisition of the CBS RADIO stations and the addition of that group of stations pushes Entercom’s net revenue from $122.3 million in the third quarter of 2017 to $378.5 million in the third quarter of this year.  But, on a same-station basis, net revenue was down from $395.2 million – a decrease of 4.3%.  Pro forma adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $86.7 million, compared to $89.7 million in the third quarter of 2017.  Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “As we close in on the one-year anniversary of our transformational merger with CBS RADIO, we are very pleased with our progress and excited about the momentum we are building across multiple growth initiatives.  Revenues have improved significantly since the first half of the year and the fourth quarter is on track for significant growth, currently pacing up 4%.  Expenses are down significantly, driven by synergies, and we anticipate solid double-digit EBITDA growth in the fourth quarter.  In addition, we have now completed all of our previously announced divestitures and land sales, generating roughly $200 million in cash proceeds.”

Townsquare Media Reports ‘Another Strong Quarter.’ The company reports its 2018 third quarter financial results, stating net revenue was $114.1 million – up 1.9% from the same period in 2017 – but was basically flat, excluding political revenue.  Excluding live events net revenue, which was budgeted to decline in 2018, net revenue increased $8.7 million, or 9.5%, to $101.1 million, as compared to $92.3 million in the same period last year.  Townsquare Media co-CEO Dhruv Prasad says, “We are pleased to announce another strong quarter at Townsquare, our fourth since Bill Wilson and I started our partnership as co-chief executive officers one year ago.  We implemented a strategic plan focused on the stability and profitable growth of Townsquare’s local branded media, marketing solutions, and live events businesses, and that plan has helped yield three consecutive quarters of revenue and EBITDA growth so far in 2018.”

Mike Thomas Promoted to National Format Brand Manager for Spoken Word Formats. WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” program director Mike Thomas is elevated to the position of national format brand manager for spoken word formats, including sports talk, talk, podcasting, and Esports content for Beasley Media Group.  He will continue to serve as PD for WBZ-FM.  At the same time, the company makes a similar move upping David Corey – PD of WKLB, Boston – to national format brand manager for country.  Beasley Media Group EVP of programming Justin Chase says, “Mike Thomas and David Corey will join our existing national format brand managers, John Candelaria (urban) from Detroit, Cadillac Jack (AC/CHR) from Boston and Bill Weston (rock) from Philly to round out a first-class programming team to further support and elevate our stations.”

Prosecution Rests in Carton Fraud Trial. According to coverage in Newsday, the feds have rested their case against former WFAN, New York morning personality Craig Carton.  Carton’s defense attorney Robert Gottlieb told U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon that they are having “serious conversations” about Carton taking the stand in his defense but have not reached a decision.  Carton is being charged with fraud, accused of using money from investors in his ticket re-sale business to pay off personal expenses – including alleged gambling debts – as well as to pay off earlier investors.  Carton denies he set out to defraud anyone and argues he was a victim of former partner Joseph Meli, who is serving 6 ½ years after pleading guilty to a previous event tickets Ponzi scheme.

KABC, Los Angeles’ Jillian Barberie Reveals Cancer Diagnosis.  As reported by LARadio.com, KABC, Los Angeles afternoon drive personality Jillian Barberie has announced via social media that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is beginning aggressive treatment. She writes, “Results back.  It’s cancer in my right breast but also it has spread to my lymph node.  Appointment at Bedford Breast to assess everything.  I’m going to be super aggressive and do double mastectomy and they said I need chemo for the lymph.  Thanks for coming on this journey with me!”  Barberie hosts the KABC show with John Phillips.  In her absence, Steve Edwards is filling in.

News Pro Mike Parker Dies at 75. Former KFI, Los Angeles news director Mike Parker passed away on Sunday (11/4) at the age of 75.  He spent the last 35-plus years of his career at WBBM-TV, Chicago, but worked in radio in Los Angeles prior to that.  LARadio.com notes that Parker graduated from Los Angeles City College and began working at KBBQ-AM as a newscaster.  He moved to KFI in 1969 and served as news director from 1973-77.

Former SiriusXM Chairman and CEO Joe Clayton Passes at 69.  Media executive Joe Clayton died on Saturday (11/3), three years after retiring from his last position as CEO of Dish Network.  He was the first CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio, serving from 2001 through 2004, and became chairman from 2004 through 2008, exiting after the merger of Sirius and XMSabo Media chairman Walter Sabo tells TALKERS magazine, “Sirius exists because of what Joe did.  Joe got the radios out of the factories and into cars.  He made those consumer electronics deals. He worked that board to get Howard Stern the deal he has and he never relented. He knew Howard was the ticket. Over and over he pulled that company out of the fire and gave it the foundation of success.”  Read the Variety obit here.

Midterm Elections, Migrant Caravan, Post-Election Administration Changes, New Iran Sanctions, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5).  Today’s midterm elections and the battle for control of the House and the Senate; the caravan of Honduran migrants headed for the U.S. border; chatter about changes in some key Trump Administration posts after the election; the U.S. reimposes sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear pact; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Doing His Civic Duty. TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein is pictured above at his polling place at St. Cloud Elementary School in West Orange, New Jersey where he’s volunteering helping voters, putting up signs and making sure the process is going smoothly for voters.  Bernstein says activity was brisk there this morning, calling it a “heavy turnout, a packed house from opening at 6:00 am until 10:00 am.”

Meg Strikes Again!  Dynamic personality Meg McDonald, host of the increasingly popular short-form TalkersRadio series “MEG!” made yet another splash within the Southern California civics community this past Sunday (11/4).  The Studio City Beautification Association hosted a booth at the Studio City Farmers Market giving away free succulents as a thank you to the community.  McDonald (pictured left) is an active board member of both organizations and held down the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm shift telling TALKERS, “We gave away 150 succulents and everyone was so appreciative.  It was a warm sunny 81-degree day so, of course, I wore my favorite Broadcasters General Store cap.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Tulsa, Griffin Communications names Amber Glaze afternoon drive personality and music director for country KVOO-FM. Glaze was most recently with Signal Media’s country KHLR, Little Rock “106.7 The Ride” as host of the “Hot Mess in the Morning” program.  KVOO program director Brian Jennings says, “Amber brings ideas and energy, along with her passion for country music.  We waited for the right candidate to come along and we’re so excited she’s finally here.  Her bright demeanor, silly sense of humor, and trademark boisterous laugh make for an invaluable addition to the KVOO team.”  Griffin recently acquired KVOO and four other Tulsa stations from Scripps Media…..Alpha Media re-brands CHR WDLD-FM Hagerstown, Maryland “Live 96.7.”  The station drops the “Wild 96.7” moniker.  Alpha Media Hagerstown VP and market manager Ed Dorsey says, “We are thrilled to be evolving the station into the ‘Live and Local’ brand that Alpha Media Hagerstown-Chambersburg stands for, to better serve the Hagerstown community.  We are excited about this new image, a ‘fresh coat of paint’ on the WDLD 96.7 brand that the community has learned to know and love over the past 16 years.”…..iHeartMedia alternative WRFF “Radio 104.5” is presenting the “Radio 104.5 Miller Lite Mystery Show presented by Xfinity Live!”  The mystery show will take place on Monday, November 19 at Xfinity Live! in Philadelphia featuring a surprise performance from a top performing artist.  Attendees won’t know who the act is until the show begins.  Tickets can only be had by listening to “Radio 104.5” or via the next free ticket download that will take place on Thursday, November 15 at 12:00 noon.

‘Make It Bigger’ Ed McLaughlin

| January 19, 2018

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO

 

NEW YORK — The great Ed McLaughlin has left a legacy of stunning success.  Working for him for five years at the ABC Radio Networks, I learned how and why he was so successful, respected, and beloved.  He was responsible for the success of KGO, San Francisco as its VP/GM in its founding year of 1960.  Ed gave KGO its on-air staff, momentum and “sound” that lead it to record-breaking #1 ratings.  The multiple network concept at ABC was brought to profitability by his determination and leadership.  Ed retired from ABC to bring Dr. Dean Edell to syndication and Rush Limbaugh to the status he enjoys today.

MAKE IT BIGGER

Today, if you take an idea to most manager-types they will say that the company can’t afford it, or it costs too much, or it’s never been done before.  Ed McLaughlin never embraced a small idea.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

| August 29, 2017

KTRH, Houston’s Michael Berry Reports In; ‘Proud of Station’s Efforts.’  The radio stations that are on the air in Houston are all working around the clock to get information out to listeners, but iHeartMedia’s KTRH – the well-recognized news/talker in the market – is “the station the nation is turning to,” according to KTRH talk show host Michael Berry.  He tells TALKERS magazine his personal story as a resident of the area with a family whose job is to be at the station keeping the public informed.  “We’re going through what our listeners are suffering also.  I put my family up at the Omni Hotel.  Then the Omni had to be evacuated.  I was visiting our affiliate in Louisiana doing a fundraiser there.  I couldn’t get back into the city due to road closures.  My wife and kids had to be rescued by boat and waded in chest deep water.  This is my whole world in the picture you see here – that’s my wife and my two kids on a boat driven by a good Samaritan who pulled them from the hotel and deposited them on the freeway.  From there a volunteer put them in the back of a truck and drove them to high ground.  Getting to be on the radio these last few days and help other people is actually cathartic.  My own home flooded on the first floor and it took until today (8/28) to be able to get to see it.  But despite all of this we are seeing the best of our people as we come together as a community.”

Broadcasters in Gear Raising Funds for Harvey Victims.  Just a sample of the Harvey relief efforts underway at radio stations and radio groups across the country include the work of E.W. Scripps Milwaukee duo news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI (and sister television station WTMJ-TV) leading a fundraiser.  Yesterday afternoon (8/28), the stations hosted a fundraising phone bank to collect donations for the American Red Cross.  Vice president and GM for the Milwaukee stations, Tom Langmyer, states, “People in Wisconsin are looking for a way that they can help the victims of the Hurricane.  Using the power of local media, we can combine our efforts to enable giving on a large scale and truly make a difference to support the American Red Cross.”  Urban One’s Reach Media has been using its radio talent to call attention to the needs of Harvey victims.  Nationally syndicated personalities including Tom Joyner, Rickey Smiley, Willie Moore Jr., Darlene McCoy, Erica Campbell, Russ Parr and Ed Lover have been interviewing people affected, news people covering the storm, and elected officials.  The “Tom Joyner Morning Show” launched the BlackAmericaWeb.com Relief Fund to provide financial support to families impacted by the storm Hurricane Harvey.

WDAE, Tampa Returns to Local Morning Show. Tampa sports talk outlet WDAE returns to live and local mornings, dropping ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show and sliding late morning duo Ronnie “Night Train” Lane and Tom “TKras” Krasniqi into the daypart.  The iHeartMedia station fills the late morning slot with FOX Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick.  It was just last October that the station in what was seen as a budgetary decision, let Tampa Bay Times sportswriters Rick Stroud and Tom Jones go and installed the “Mike & Mike” program.

Boston’s Emerson College the Site of Next Summer’s Radio Talent Institute.  Next summer, Beasley Media Group is partnering with Xperi and Marketron Interactive and the National Radio Talent System to present the 10-day Beasley Radio Talent Institute program at Emerson College in Boston.  The immersion program will bring broadcasting students together with more than 30 radio professionals who teach classes based on their individual areas of expertise.  Session topics will range from on-air, production, news, sports, interactive to social media, engineering, promotions and sales, and includes the Radio Advertising Bureau’s “Radio Marketing Professional” certification course. WERS, Boston general manager and Emerson adjunct professor Jack Casey states, “The Radio Talent Institute builds upon the quality education students are already receiving at their academic institutions and through working at their college radio stations.  We are grateful to Beasley Media Group for providing this incredible opportunity, along with other forward-thinking companies such as Xperi and Marketron Interactive.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime Chicago sports talk personality Mike North has announced he’s retiring from sports talk radio.  North is famous for having been a hot dog stand owner who morphed into one of the first personalities on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR.  He exited “The Score” in 2008 and for a time co-hosted “FOX Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman on the FOX Sports Radio Network.  Feder reports that North told WTTW-TV, Chicago’s Phil Ponce, “I’m heading in another direction because I think the timing is right.  I’m not leaving broadcasting. I’m leaving sports radio.”  Read Feder’s column here…..Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch is reporting that ESPN Radio personality Ryen Russillo is serving a two-week suspension after an incident at a Wyoming condominium in which a drunk Russillo entered the unit of another couple and basically passed out on a bed in a state of partial undress.  He was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass and ESPN reportedly says he’ll return to the air on September 5…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles is prepping for the NFL season with its daily “Pro Football Insiders Report” that will feature five pro football experts giving their reports four times per day.  Former Chargers great Dan Fouts’ reports air on Mondays, FOX broadcaster Chris Myers airs on Tuesday, former Rams star Jackie Slater’s reports air on Wednesday, broadcast pro Andrew Siciliano’s reports air on Thursdays, and Rams great Vince Ferragamo’s reports air on Fridays…..Ed Esposito is retiring from Rubber City Radio where he’s been serving as vice president/information media.  Esposito handled news duties on Jeff Kinzbach’s morning program on rock WONE, Akron in addition to his responsibilities managing the news and public affairs on sister stations country WQMX, and news/talk WAKR.  Esposito is also a former chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association…..SiriusXM and ESPN announce their deal to serve college sports fans via ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM.  The channel launches on Thursday (8/31)…..FOX Sports Radio’s NFL insider Jay Glazer is hosting a special three-hour football season preview tomorrow (8/30) during the Doug Gottlieb show.  Glazer will be joined by FOX Sports Radio host Dan Beyer.  Glazer recently renewed his multi-year deal with FSR to serve as its NFL insider and he’ll appear regularly across the network’s programs…..TuneIn is offering free coverage of live play-by-play of college football all season long.  TuneIn features the home and away calls of every game for more than 140 schools.  This programming comes via partnerships with ESPN, FOX Sports, IMG College, JMI Sports, Learfield, and Outfront…..AdLarge Media brings Gina Suarez aboard as director of affiliate marketing and promotes Frank DeSantis to SVP of business development…..iHeartMedia news/talk KALZ, “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM1400” is serving as the official Los Angeles Chargers affiliate for Fresno and Visalia.  “PowerTalk” program director Jay Bohannon states, “We’re always looking for ways for ‘Powertalk 96.7’ to diversify our programming, particularly on a stage as large as the NFL.  It’s a dawn of a new era for the Chargers franchise and their fans and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

WPHT’s Chris Stigall Hosts Sharyl Attkisson at Live Event.  Pictured above are WPHT, Philadelphia morning personality Chris Stigall (right) speaking with Emmy award-winning journalist and author Sharyl Attkisson (left) before a sold-out audience at the Colonial Theatre.  Stigall tells TALKERS the conversation was “a blunt assessment of journalism today.”  Attkisson greeted fans and signed copied of her book, The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think and How You Vote (Harper 2017).

Harvey Hammers Houston, Federal Flood Insurance Troubles, Trump’s Pardon of Joe Arpaio, North Korea’s Nuclear Threats, Trump-Russia Investigation, ‘Game of Thrones’ Finale, Mayweather-McGregor Aftermath, MLB Action, and NFL Pre-Season Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday.  Houston’s challenge dealing with the effects of Harvey and the threat of more rain; the shaky state of the federal flood insurance program; reactions to President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio; North Korea’s nuclear threats and the launch of a missile over Japan; the investigation into possible connections between Trump operatives and Russia including the recent allegations Trump was looking into building a Trump Tower in Moscow; the season finale of “Game of Thrones”; the aftermath of the Floyd MayweatherConor McGregor fight; Major League Baseball action; and NFL pre-season activity 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.  WAXQ, New York morning duo Jim Kerr and Shelli Sonstein are celebrating 40 years together on the New York City airwaves.  Kerr’s career began 50 years ago at the tender age of 21 hosting mornings on WPLJ.  On August 29, 1977, Sonstein became Kerr’s morning drive partner.  As Kerr puts it, one morning Sonstein surprised him by showing up at the WPLJ studios.  “I saw this woman and I didn’t know what she was doing there.  No one told me who she was and why she was there!”  Sonstein says, “When people ask Jim and me when we plan to retire, we both respond the same way, ‘why would we ever want to stop doing what we love?’”…..Changes take place at Meruelo Media’s Los Angeles operations as rhythmic AC KDAY/KDEY program director Adrian Scott resigns and hip hop KPWR PD Jimmy Steal becomes vice president of programming for KDAY/KDEY…..Purchased from the SLC Divestiture Trust for $1.1 million by Aerostar Communications is former Simmons Media Group signal KEGH-FM, Salt Lake City.  With that station come four booster signals: KEGH-FM1, Ogden; KEGH-FM2, Bountiful; KEGH-FM3, Salt Lake City; and KEGH-FM4, Provo. Aerostar is operating KEGH-FM under an LMA airing a Spanish music format…..SiriusXM is debuting a new, monthly show called “Off the Cuff,” hosted by Keith Richards’ daughter Theodora Richards.  The program will feature Richards chatting with musical guests and friends such as Sean Lennon, The Rolling Stones back-up singer Lisa Fischer and musician Peter Wolf, as they “discuss their love of music, latest obsessions and biggest musical influences.”  She’ll play music from a diverse range of artists such as Howlin’ Wolf, Luther Vandross, Chuck Berry and The Rolling Stones.

Lessons from Neil Rogers

| August 23, 2017

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO

 

NEW YORK — There are notable entertaining, non-network, local talk hosts.  My favorites are: Mike Trivosonno and Bill Wills on WTAM, Cleveland; Jon Pole on CJAD, Montreal; John & Ken on KFI, Los Angeles; Mark Belling on WISN, Milwaukee; Jim Philips on WTKS-FM, Orlando; and Dom Giordonno on WPHT, Philadelphia.  If I should have mentioned you, I apologize.  This is an urgent, current story about a host who knows how to use social media: South Florida’s Neil Rogers.

Right now, one of the most active Facebook pages is the Neil Rogers show.  It has almost 3,000 members and today has featured a dozen posts from listeners.

Read More

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

| August 23, 2017

Chris Wegmann to Lead New Orleans Operations for Entercom. Radio executive Chris Wegmann – most recently president of the radio division of Radio One – is joining Entercom to serve as vice president and market manager for its New Orleans station group that consists of news/talk WWL-AM/FM, adult contemporary WLMG “Magic 101.9,” classic rock WKBU “95.7 The Bayou,” CHR WEZB “B97,” urban contemporary WWWL-AM and the New Orleans Saints Radio Network. Wegmann is a New Orleans native who began his career at WBOK-AM when it was an R&B outlet.  Entercom regional president Michael Doyle says, “I am excited to have someone of Chris’s background joining Entercom in New Orleans.  He started his career in New Orleans and is returning with an impressive resume of success in our industry.”

Christopher Gabriel Joins KFIG-AM, Fresno.  Radio personality Christopher Gabriel announces that he’s joining John and Katrina Ostlund’s sports talk KFIG-AM, Fresno “940 ESPN.”  Gabriel says it has not been determined whether his afternoon drive program will air from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm or 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, but he writes on his website: “We’re a 50,000-watt monster signal and the flagship station for Fresno State Bulldogs athletics.  We also carry the Giants, A’s, 49ers, Raiders, Sharks and Lakers.  So why my move to sports talk after so many years in news/talk?  If you know me, you know it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years; this has been a long time coming.  Certainly, though, I’ll bring along CGP standards like “The Other Side of the News,” “One More Thing,” “CFB Friday” and most likely a new segment or two.  My sincere thanks to so many of you – in particular the great folks in Fargo, Moorhead, Minneapolis and the entire Upper Midwest – who have been incredibly supportive of me and the program during my ‘vacation.’  Time to jump back into the driver’s seat and have fun!”

New Entercom Sports President Mike Dee Talks to AdWeek. The former chief operating officer for the Boston Red Sox and president of the San Diego Padres talks with AdWeek about his new gig as president of Entercom Sports and the sports talk radio business.  Mike Dee says the merger of Entercom and CBS RADIO will give the new company an impressive array of large and major market sports talk radio outlets as well as the rights to radio play-by-play for more than 45 sports franchises.   In the Q&A, he says why he believes national advertisers should look to sports talk radio as part of their media strategy: “The opportunities are vast, and in our case, having stations in 23 of the top 25 markets, we will be able to offer scale for national advertisers that’s unprecedented and unmatched in the industry today.  You couple that on a broader context with our local event business, which has been a big growth element, both on the Entercom and on the CBS RADIO side.  The ability to reach targeted groups in local marketplaces on a national scale will enable Entercom to stand out from our competition, and I think that’s very appealing for national advertisers.”  Read the whole story here.

Sabo: Lessons from Neil Rogers. Radio consultant Walter Sabo writes today about the monstrous success of the social media of South Florida talk show host Neil Rogers.  Sabo says, “Right now, one of the most active Facebook pages is the Neil Rogers show.  It has almost 3,000 members and today has featured a dozen posts from listeners.  His YouTube channel has 3,990 posts of videos and airchecks ALL posted by listeners not by him or the station.  The posts are unique in that they feel like gift offerings to Neil and his fan base.  Most of the posts present clips, articles, and news stories that should please Neil.  There are airchecks from 5, 10, 30 years ago — posted this week.”  See Sabo’s entire piece here.

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships.  In his second of four analyses of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2017 PPM survey, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian reports on MLB play-by-play flagship stations.  Kinosian says, “Approximately one of every three MLB flagships (34%) improves between June 2017 – July 2017 (6+), but more than half (52%) are down; the remaining 14% of the sample is flat (6+).”  When comparing the same flagship station ratings from last July (2016) to this, “Over half of our eligible MLB flagships sample are down year-to-year (53.5%, 6+) while 43% improve; the remaining 3.5% are unchanged.”  See the entire report here.

WBEN-AM, Buffalo’s Sandy Beach to Be Inducted into NYSBA Hall of Fame.  WBEN-AM, Buffalo morning drive personality Sandy Beach – a Buffalo radio pro for the past 35 years – is being named to the New York State Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame.  Beach, along with television news pros Janet Lomax of Rochester and Art McFarland of New York City, will be inducted on October 19 at the New York Broadcast Leadership and Hall of Fame Luncheon during the NAB/Show New York.  Beach also worked in the market at heritage hit radio outlet WKBW and is a 2013 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a disc jockey.

TALKERS News Notes. Pictured here is KFYI, Phoenix talk show host Terry Gilberg on Fox News Channel on Monday evening (8/21) speaking in advance of President Trump’s Tuesday evening rally at the Phoenix Convention Center.  Gilberg hosts the “THINK! America Radio” program that airs on KFYI Saturdays from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm…..Podcast companies Spreaker and BlogTalkRadio are merging after their respective boards approved the move.  The press release notes that Spreaker co-founder and CEO Francesco Baschieri has been named president of the new firm.  The terms of the merger have not been disclosed but the companies say “shareholders from each of Spreaker and BlogTalkRadio will be making investments in support of the new company’s growth plan, which will be rolled out over the next several months.”  Baschieri comments, “We’re combining Spreaker’s best-in-class mobile and web content management system and creation tools with BlogTalkRadio’s first-to-market monetization platform. The merged company operates at massive scale delivering unique value to independent hosts, podcast networks, and larger mainstream publishers alike.”…..Union Broadcasting and the Kansas City Chiefs are agreeing to extend their partnership for the former’s sports talk WHB to serve as the flagship for radio play-by-play.  Under the extended agreement, WHB owns exclusive live radio broadcast rights to the Chiefs’ weekly in-season press conference with head coach Andy Reid and a weekly one-on-one interview with quarterback Alex Smith, plus other unique content…..KTRS, St. Louis talk show host McGraw Milhaven is subbing  for Westwood One nationally syndicated late night host Jim Bohannon.  He sat in last night (8/22) and will do it again tonight.

Trump Phoenix Speech/Protests, Arpaio Pardon/NAFTA Status, Louise Linton Social Media SNAFU, U.S.-North Korea Tensions, U.S. Navy Accidents, Tiger Woods Nude Pics Battle, Powerball Jackpot, ESPN Pulls Announcer from UVA Game, MLB Action, and NFL Pre-Season Activity Among Top News/Talk stories Yesterday (8/22).  President Donald Trump’s Tuesday speech in Phoenix and the attendant protests; Trump’s comments that he’s considering pardoning convicted former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his belief NAFTA will fall apart; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s actress wife Louise Linton apologizes after getting into a social media spat; tensions between the U.S. and North Korea over the latter’s nuclear weapons program; the recent spate of U.S. Navy accidents and the fate of Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin; Tiger Woods’ and Lindsey Vonn’s legal battle with Celebrity Jihad over hacked, nude pictures of them; the Powerball jackpot hits $700 million; ESPN’s pulling of Asian-American announcer Robert Lee from a UVA football game because of his name similarity with the Confederate General; Major League Baseball action; and NFL pre-season activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Jeni Grouws Recognized as 2017 MIW Rising Star.  The “MIW Rising Star Award” is the result of an alliance between the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group and Marketron, named in honor and memory of the late Renée Roth.  The Rising Through the Ranks 2017 two-day intensive training seminar was held August 16-17 at BMI’s Nashville offices during which Decorah Broadcasting’s KDEC, Decorah, Iowa station manager and morning host Jeni Grouws was recognized as the 2017 MIW Rising Star.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley, Media Staffing Network founder and president Laurie Kahn, RAB president and CEO Erica Farber, CBS RADIO Chicago’s Lindsay Cerajewski, Grouws and MIW Radio Group spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik.

Harrison Podcast Explores the History of Radio and Electronic Communications.  This week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” takes the listener to the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut.  In somewhat of a change-of-pace episode, Harrison interviews the colorful non-profit institution’s founder and executive director John Ellsworth about the museum and its fascinating contents, as well as its mission to preserve the growing history of the radio broadcasting medium’s impact on human culture.  Harrison and Ellsworth talk history all the way back to pre-Marconi days and trace the amazing story up to the present era of Wi-Fi and smartphones.  This episode is a media freak’s delight as is the offbeat gem of a museum that it spotlights.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.  Photo:  Michael Harrison stands with a classic Collins 830 FM transmitter popular during the 1960s at the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. WNVZ, Norfolk “Z104” program director Natalia Soniak adds programming responsibilities for sister hot AC WPTE “94.9 The Point.”  Entercom Norfolk vice president and market manager Bennett Zier states, “Natalia is one of our great leaders and talents and we are delighted that she will be taking on the extra responsibilities of the ‘94.9 The Point.’.…..Michigan radio pro Trudi Daniels is signing on with Black Diamond Broadcasting to host the midday program on rock WGFM, Traverse City “Rock 105 & 95.5.”  Daniels was part of the “Drew & Mike” show on WRIF, Detroit for almost 22 years.  She also worked on air at classic rock WCSX.  Daniels comments, “I started listening to ‘Rock 105 & 95.5’ driving up north for weekends and wished I could get it all the time, everywhere in Michigan.  So much great rock I hadn’t heard in years and new music, too. I’m amped to be a part of the ‘Rock’ roster.”…..Exiting E.W. Scripps’ country WCYQ, Knoxville “Q 100.3” after four years is morning personality Krisha Newport…..iHeartMedia Charlotte announces the appointment of Chuck “DZL” Thompson as program director and afternoon drive personality for alternative WEND “106.5 The End.”  Thompson comes to Charlotte from iHeartMedia’s Richmond cluster where he was program director and midday host for alternative WRXL “XL 102.”  iHeartMedia EVP of programming for the Northeast Division Meg Stevens says, “DZL is an extraordinary programmer: strategic, creative and driven.  He knows how to perfectly blend the art and the science of programming.  I look forward to his return to the Queen City.”…..As part of its effort to roll out Alexa Skills for its stations, Beasley Media Group is presenting a promotion in which Amazon Echo’s Alexa will guest DJ on WBEN-FM, Philadelphia this Friday from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  During the show, listeners will get chances to win Amazon Echo Dots.  Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase comments, “Beasley is rolling out Alexa Skills for all of our stations nationwide and this is a creative example of how we are promoting it to our audience on BEN-FM.”…..RAIN Summit Australia is taking place at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre on October 13 in collaboration with Commercial Radio Australia’s “Radio Alive 2017” conference.  In 2017 RAIN will have produced six summits, including two conferences geared to digital audio advertisers in New York and Chicago, the Podcast Business Summit in New York, RAIN Summit Austin with the NAB (9/5), and RAIN Summit London (11/9).

Sabo’s Solid Sterling Resume

| July 31, 2017

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

NEW YORK — Prevalent, perceptions of programming consultants unfortunately tend to be highly unflattering.

Fast-talking, blue-sky selling, out-of-towners with disingenuous “I’m here to help you” patter and an altogether insincere demeanor is how some will often times erroneously paint the typical briefcase-toting advisor.

At the same time, a running industry punchline further diminishing the aura of this brutally competitive occupation was that each out-of-work program director and air talent was only hours away from hanging out his or her consulting shingle.

Read More

Monday, July 31, 2017

| July 31, 2017

Beasley Pro Forma Net Revenue Dips 3.3%; Pro Forma SOI Rises 17.5%.  The second quarter 2017 financial report for Beasley Broadcast Group isn’t straightforward from a comparison standpoint due to the recent acquisition of the Greater Media stations as well as the divestiture of its Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina operations.  The company states, “The $33.2 million, or 119.7%, year-over-year increase in net revenue during the three months ended June 30 reflects the operation of stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and New Jersey acquired from Greater Media, partially offset by the disposition of the Charlotte and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville clusters.”  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley adds, “Following our second full quarter of results including the Greater Media markets, we are beginning to realize the benefits from this transaction in terms of scale and opportunity, as reflected by the 119.7% increase in consolidated net revenue and 100% rise in SOI compared to the prior year.  In the second quarter, we continued to actively manage our local radio broadcasting platform while implementing our operating disciplines at the acquired Greater Media stations and extracting valuable synergies from our enhanced scale to drive SOI margin expansion.  The 9.1% reduction in pro-forma second quarter operating expenses, which included $1 million of severance related to the Greater Media markets, was partially offset by the 3.3% decline in pro forma revenue, which was attributable to political spending levels and declines in national revenues, as well as certain specific integration-related issues.  As a result, Beasley generated a 17.5% year-over-year increase in second quarter pro forma SOI with SOI margins reaching 26.6% up from 21.9% in the year-ago period.  With the financing of the Greater Media acquisition, our total outstanding debt as of June 30 was approximately $225 million, compared to $240 million at March 31.  We made voluntary debt repayments of $4 million in the second quarter and applied 100% of the $11 million in net proceeds from our Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville cluster divestiture toward debt reduction, resulting in a total $15 million reduction in debt.”

WBZT, West Palm Beach Flips to Sports as ‘Sports Radio 1230 The Zone.’ Dropping news/talk for sports, iHeartMedia West Palm Beach introduces the new WBZT as “Sports Radio 1230 The Zone.”  The station will feature a local morning drive show – “Defo in the Morning” – hosted by Jeff Deforest, Mike “Lubie” Lubitz and The Greek.  The station will air play-by-play including NFL football, the Miami Marlins, Florida Gators basketball and the 2018 Winter Olympics.  Program director Brian Mudd comments, “We are excited that ‘Sports Radio 1230 The Zone’ will be the Palm Beaches’ new home for all things sports.  Our all-star lineup featuring South Florida’s own ‘Defo in the Morning,’ The Greek and Jim Rome will bring the biggest games, the best sports conversation and sports updates you need to know.”

John Oliver Again Targets Alex Jones on Last Night’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ (7/30).  Satirist John Oliver again targeted controversial InfoWars host Alex Jones on his HBO series “Last Week Tonight,” citing TALKERS magazine’s most-listened-to hosts audience estimates of 5.9 million per week.  To view the scathing commentary please click here.

KOA, Denver’s Steffan Tubbs Arrested on Domestic Violence Charge. The iHeartMedia news/talk station has issued no comment at this time after the local reports of KOA morning personality Steffan Tubbs’ arrest on the charge of domestic violence, disturbance via phone.  FOX 31 Denver reports the 48-year-old Tubbs was arrested on Sunday morning outside the apartment of an unidentified woman who called police.  The story notes that Colorado is a mandatory arrest state, meaning that if police are called and there’s probable cause, an arrest of the accused is made and that person must appear before a judge prior to posting bond.

TALKERS News Notes. The new executive producer of the “Jason and John” show – featuring John Martin and Jason Smith – on Entercom’s WMFS-FM, Memphis “92.9 FM ESPN/680AM” is Bennett Doyle.  He’s been producing programs on the station – filling in on the Geoff Calkins show, the Eric Hasseltine show, and the Gary Parrish show – in addition to working with “Jason and John.”  At the same time, the station announces that Ashley Cahill is named promotion and events manager…..News anchor Frank Settipani retires from CBS Radio News after a 36-year stint with the news organization.  Before joining CBS Radio News in 1981, Settipani had worked at WNEW-AM and WINS-AM in New York, UPI, and Dow Jones…..RTDNA joins with the Society of Professional Journalists and a score of other journalism groups, urging the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee to hold a hearing on the state of media in the United States.  The groups say an informed public is crucial to democracy and they want to work together to ensure the public has an informed opinion of the press and its role. Because the Commerce Committee oversees the Federal Communications Commission, it plays an important role in broadcast media licensing, communications networks and more.  The organizations say an open discussion about journalism will hopefully help to rebuild trust in the profession. See the letter here…..CBS RADIO’s Spanish music outlet KLOL, Houston “Mega 101 FM” will be the new home of the Houston Texans Spanish radio broadcasts on game days…..Salem Radio Network personality Mike Gallagher (pictured at left) takes a selfie in front of the stage at Citi Field in New York where the Doobie Brothers are performing on stage.  The event also featured Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac and Earth, Wind & Fire. Gallagher says the show was “my soundtrack from high school.”…..CBS Sports Radio host Jim Rome crowned the winner of the 2017 Smack Off, naming Leff in Laguna the eventual winner in what was described as a very crowded field.  Leff takes home $5,000 and eternal bragging rights.  Rome comments, “This was the best Smack Off ever and the toughest one to decide a winner, but Leff in Laguna won it with a great call that somehow included an incredible in-studio reunion of the guys from the 1996 SI photo shoot.  Truly an amazing moment in show history and one that I will remember forever.”

Profile: Walter SaboTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a profile of radio’s Walter Sabo – currently focusing his efforts on his weekly Sunday night talk show on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia.  Sabo’s weekly show diverges a bit from what some would term formulaic conservative political talk, and Sabo thinks there’s room for that on news/talk radio.  “I strongly believe there is a great opportunity for talk stations today to increase what they offer [however] I am not saying to get rid of political talk shows.  It’s good if a station has a gifted talk show host – but make sure [he or she is] entertaining.  The most response I get from my show is when I talk about trouble with the in-laws – that’s when the phones and emails go crazy.  It is what you talk about with your friends, so why wouldn’t you put it on the air? This is what someone like Elvis Duran [highlights on his morning show originating from iHeartMedia New York City CHR WHTZ ‘Z-100’ and syndicated on Premiere Radio Networks]. Stations that just talk about politics are so afraid to talk about anything else and there is no reason to.”  Read Kinosian’s piece here.

ABC Radio and Skyview Renew. Partners since 2014, ABC Radio and Skyview Networks announce they’ve signed an early extension of their content, ad sales, affiliate sales and audio distribution agreement.  The companies say that “this early renewal through 2026 positions ABC Radio and Skyview Networks to continue their growth in audio syndication and sales, while preparing ABC Radio and Skyview Networks to expand their relationship with news and entertainment brands seeking strategic partnerships that generate strong results.”  Skyview president Ken Thiele comments, “Skyview Networks is proud to extend our partnership with ABC Radio.  This early renewal speaks to the success of our collaboration and allows us to continue our joint initiative to deliver quality content to radio stations and provide the media community impactful advertiser opportunities.  We look forward to deepening our relationship, as we further explore options that will expand the ABC Radio offering.  We feel privileged to have ABC Radio at our side as Skyview Networks continues to experience healthy, sustainable growth.”

Futuri Appoints Three to New Positions.  Three new staffers join media technology firm Futuri Media at the company’s new Cleveland-area headquarters.  Radio pro Chris Huneke is named partner integration specialist.  In this role, the former WNNF, Cincinnati “NASH FM 94.1” program director will be a partner to programmers who use Futuri’s audience engagement products, helping them develop new ways to drive ratings and revenue.  Alison Stubbendieck is named national account manager.  She comes to Futuri after spending the last 11 years with digital marketer NeoFillJames Hunziker also joins as national account manager. He previously served with YP.com and CBS RADIO Cleveland before joining Futuri.

Jim Bohannon Delivers University of North Georgia Commencement.  Pictured here at the podium is Westwood One nationally syndicated radio talk host Jim Bohannon delivering a speech at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Georgia on Saturday (7/29).

The MBA Radio Talent Institute Begins Today.  This edition of the Missouri Broadcasters Association Radio Talent Institute begins today at Northwest Missouri State University.  The 10-day institute is made possible with financial commitments from the school and the MBA, plus broadcast companies including: Hubbard Radio-St Louis; Eagle Communications-St. Joseph; Emmis Communications-St. Louis; Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group of Mid Missouri-Columbia, Jefferson City; iHeartMedia-St. Louis, Springfield, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport; Cumulus Media-Kansas City, Columbia, Jefferson City; and Mid-West Family Broadcasting-Springfield.  Students will travel to the Kansas City Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph for a session on sports broadcasting from Chiefs play-by-play announcer Mitch Holthus. The field trip will continue in Kansas City with a play-by-play session from the Royals’ Denny Matthews.  On Friday morning, Kansas City’s “Taylor and Brady Morning Show,” from KZPT “99.7 The Point” will broadcast live from the institute.

Trump Ousts Reince Priebus/Cabinet Changes, Future of ObamaCare, Putin Orders U.S. to Cut Diplomatic Staff, North Korea Nuclear Threats, Venezuela Elections, Sunday’s GoT Episode, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The ouster of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly named his replacement, plus the arrival of White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci; the GOP’s efforts to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a plan crafted by Republicans; in retaliation for the Congress-approved sanctions against Russia, Vladimir Putin orders U.S. to remove 755 diplomats from Russia; the ongoing threats against the U.S. by North Korea; the weekend elections in Venezuela that Nicolas Maduro says give him complete control of the nation’s government and military and other nations’ refusal to accept the elections as legitimate; the current season of “Game of Thrones” and anticipation of Sunday night’s episode; 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.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/31) with Memorial Tribute To Dr. Joy Browne by Jim Bohannon.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are:

–          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.

–          TODAY (7/31) we posted the third of a series of three memorial tributes by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon dedicated to major talk show personalities and longtime TALKERS Convention participants who passed away this past year:  Tom MarrDr. Joy Browne and Alan Colmes.  Today’s posted tribute is for Dr. Joy Browne.  (Introduction by Stephan Multimedia CEO/host, Doug Stephan.)

Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com 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.

 

 

Westwood One Realigns 24/7 Formats Organization.  President of programming Kirk Stirland says the streamlining of Westwood One’s 24/7 formats organizational structure “includes the promotion of many talented team members, and we are committed to continually optimizing our systems and station support as we advance our technology and content delivery solutions.”  The company says the structure gives every affiliate a single point of contact with a senior programming executive supported by a dedicated team of experts including a program operations manager, music and promotion director, and system operator.  “The new organization supporting VPs of programming George King/country, Cheri Marquart/contemporary, and David Felker/gold formats can respond to the more than 1,800 affiliates swiftly and conclusively with the singular goal of providing a top-notch product and white-glove service.”  Effective immediately, Dave Carey and Melody Morgan are promoted to program operations managers.  Al Vertucci and Gerry Dixon are promoted to music and promotion directors, for gold and contemporary formats respectively, and Bill Thorpe is promoted to system operator.  In a related move, Heather Martinez, a 13-year veteran of Westwood One’s 24-Hour Formats, is promoted to promotion manager.

Travis Moon to Program ‘K-Bull 93’ in Salt Lake City.  Country radio pro Travis Moon is joining Cumulus Media to serve as the program director for KUBL, Salt Lake City “K-Bull 93.”  Moon was most recently with iHeartMedia as director of country operations at KAJA, San Antonio and KASE and KVET in Austin.  Joining KUBL is a return to the station for Moon.  Earlier in his career, he was afternoon drive personality and APD.  Cumulus Media Salt Lake City Pat Reedy says, “To have someone of Travis’ experience, knowledge and track record of programming winning country radio stations is very exciting.  Can’t wait to get him in the ‘K-Bull’ stable and let him work his magic.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer Kenny J is named program director at Cumulus Media’s urban AC KMJK “Magic 107.3.”  He comes to Kansas City from Kennelwood Radio’s hip hop KWBT, Waco, Texas “94.5 The Beat.”  At KMJK, Kenny J will also host the midday show.  Cumulus Kansas City operations manager Lance Tidwell states, “We are excited to have Kenny at the helm of ‘Magic 107.3’ in Kansas City.  The station is poised for significant growth and will benefit from Kenny’s leadership and deep knowledge of the urban AC format.”…..Cumulus Media launches a new CHR station, flipping from sports talk on WNMQ-FM, Columbus-Starkville, Mississippi.   The station takes on the brand “Q103.1 FM The Golden Triangle’s Hit Music.”  In morning drive, the station will use the syndicated “The Bert Show.”…..iHeartMedia Phoenix names Vinnie Del Rosso the new executive producer and on-air talent on adult contemporary KESZ’s “Beth and Friends” morning show. Area SVP of programming Paul Kelley says, “I’m excited to add Vinnie’s personality and perspective to the ‘Beth and Friends’ morning show. Vinnie and Beth have a great rapport and he will bring tremendous energy to the show.”

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