Talkers New York 2015 “Programming Talk Radio in 2015” Video Posted Today. One of the most important panel discussions of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference (held on June 12) is posted today on Talkers TV. Skillfully moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey and introduced by Radio America syndicated host Dana Loesch, the take-away-packed session includes (in alphabetical order): Carl Anderson, EVP, programming, iHeartMedia; Mike Bendixen, PD, Newstalk 1010, CFRB, Toronto; Valerie Geller, CEO, Geller Media International; Scott Masteller, PD, WBAL, Baltimore; and Mike McVay, SVP, content & programming, Cumulus Media. Subjects covered include keeping the news/talk format fresh and modern, the primacy of content, the relationship today between programming and sales, overcoming widespread negativity about the news/talk format, the benefits and pitfalls of branding, the challenge of hiring good talent, the effective utilization of social media and more. To view the video in its entirety, please click here.
Hunnicutt Exits iHeartMedia to Head New Record Label. A shocker in the radio biz as longtime iHeartMedia exec Clay Hunnicutt leaves his EVP and general manager of national programming platforms position to become president of the new record label Big Loud Records. The move was announced to iHeartMedia staffers via a memo from national programming platforms president Tom Poleman. He writes, “After more than 15 years here with us, Clay Hunnicutt has decided to leave iHeartMedia to become president of Big Loud Records, a record label startup. Clay has not only been a great partner to me in the day-to-day operations of national programming, he’s also become a great friend; I know you all feel the same. He’s been a pioneer and leader in shaping the great company that we are today, and for that I’ll always be thankful.”
Cumulus Media Los Angeles Courts Courtemanche as VP/Sales. Former iHeartMedia Chicago vice president of sales Jason Courtemanche relocates to Los Angeles for a similar position with Cumulus Media talker KABC-AM and classic rocker KLOS. Cumulus Media senior vice president of operations Tom Schurr comments, “I am thrilled to be working with Jason again. He is a smart, competitive, experienced broadcast executive who attracts top talent and produces results for partners and stations. We are excited to have a leader of his caliber joining the team.” Courtemanche remarks, “I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity on the west coast with these two legendary radio stations and the highly respected sales team. I am committed to getting in the trenches and helping make Cumulus the place to be in Los Angeles media.” Prior to his stint at iHeartMedia Chicago, Courtemanche was sales manager for CBS Radio Chicago all-news operation WBBM-AM; general sales manager for iHeartMedia San Diego; and director of sales for San Diego-based MVS International Communications. In pro hockey for six years (1993 – 1999), Courtemache played for various teams in the ECHL, IHL, AHL, WCHL, and CHL.
Bridging the Generational Divide – 17 Year Old Talk Radio Rising Star, Pavlina, Meets Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. It starts out light and chatty but quickly develops into an insightful dialogue that spans the generational divide. Seventeen-year-old, multi-platform talk radio host Pavlina Osta is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on this week’s installment of the international hit Podcast One production “Up Close and Far Out.” “Pavlina” has been remarkably active as a self-motivated “celebrity journalist” since the tender age of 11 — racking up archives of more than 450 interviews with famous figures in show business, music, sports and public policy. She hosts a weekly radio show called “Pavlina’s Kidz Place” heard on Florida stations WAPN, Holly Hill; WAPB, Madison; and WELE, Ormond Beach plus a number more across the Sunshine State and scattered around the country — as well as maintaining a very active website and YouTube presence. She is already a two-time Gracie Award winner and holds the Guinness world record for the most radio interviews conducted in 24 hours. She conducted 347 interviews, each being a unique set of at least five questions. The entire 24-hour period was broadcast live on Ustream.tv and via Live365. Pavlina, a published author and tireless charity volunteer, has attended a number of industry conferences including the last two TALKERS events in New York City where her irrepressible personality, charisma and unique flair for fashion caught the attention of industry leaders – many of whom have begun championing her career. She served a summer internship with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in 2014 and is working this summer with Salem stations (WNYM and WMCA) in New York City under the direction of Phil Boyce. She has also received vigorous talent coaching by David Bernstein. Pavlina recently made an appearance on Newsmax TV as a guest of Steve Malzberg further fueling her rocketing profile as a media figure to be reckoned with. Upon interviewing Pavlina for “Up Close and Far Out,” Michael Harrison states, “What this remarkable young woman lacks in polish and sophistication, she more than makes up for in sheer likability. She oozes positive energy, remarkable charisma, unmistakable style and indelible authenticity. Plus, and most important, just under the surface of her ‘contemporary teenage girlishness’ lies an uncommon intelligence and wisdom that are clearly fueling this young woman’s self-motivated juggernaut to stardom. I didn’t treat her like a kid – but, rather, the amazing young woman into which she is clearly developing. I gave her the respect of asking her tough questions. We talked about kids today – sex, drugs, peer-pressure, education, even tattoos and body piercing, plus more.” On being interviewed by Michael Harrison, Pavlina states, “We actually covered more than I’ve ever done in an interview. This was a lot of fun. I appreciate it.” To hear the entire conversation between Michael Harrison and Pavlina, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com. (Pictured here are Michael Harrison and Pavlina in a selfie taken at Talkers New York 2015 on June 12.)
Voltair and PPM Controversy Getting Play in Consumer Press. The digital publication FiveThirtyEight.com (published by ESPN) just posted a story by Carl Bialik that brings the industry’s concern about the reliability of the PPM technology used by Nielsen Audio to light with more of the public. The piece uses the demise of the smooth jazz format as the primary case against the ratings technology – though it does point out that the talk and classical formats are likely adversely affected by alleged inadequacies in the PPM, as well. Though the piece doesn’t go into detail about how Voltair works, it offers a summary of the processor’s recent history, including the moratorium on it in Canada. The piece also poses the question: If this controversy turns the radio ratings on its head, isn’t that a potential death knell for the entire industry? One anonymous industry executive replies, “When you’re buying on a flawed system, nobody’s winning.” Read the entire article here.
Glen Tacinelli Named 77WABC General Sales Manager. Heading up the sales efforts at Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WABC, New York is Glen Tacinelli, who begins his role as general sales manager on July 13. Tacinelli comes to WABC from Eastman Radio’s New York office, where he’s repped radio stations in more than 137 markets across the United States for the past seven years. Prior to that he served at CBS RADIO’s WCBS-FM, New York. He began his radio career at Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio). Cumulus New York VP/market manager Chad Lopez states, “We are thrilled to welcome Glen Tacinelli as the GSM to the iconic, legendary WABC brand. Glen’s outstanding talent, knowledge of the New York radio market and expertise in selling some of the top AM stations across the country is exactly what we were looking to add to the Cumulus New York team.”
Odds & Sods. Taking home two awards from the Virginia Association of Broadcasting is Monticello Media’s news/talk WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia. The station was honored with the “Outstanding Newscast” and “Outstanding News Series” awards. Program director Joe Thomas says, “Less than eight years since taking over a station with no local news content, I am so proud of news director John Peterson, his news team and our afternoon drive host Coy Barefoot and their efforts to both inform and entertain our community!”…..Delta Media Corporation welcomes Ben Love to the station’s permanent program lineup on sports talk KLWB-FM, Lafayette, Louisiana “103.7 The Game.” Love, who hosts “Bumper to Bumper Sports with Ben Love,” is an award-winning sports media pro who recently was honored with the Best Website Feature, Best Website Column awards and finished second for Best Website Game Story by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association…..SiriusXM plans regular coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. in September on The Catholic Channel. SiriusXM says it will feature around-the-clock coverage each day, including live broadcasts of all of the major events during the Pope’s visit, including his appearance at the World Meeting of Families and Papal Mass in Philadelphia, his speech at the United Nations, the mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, and more.
Mason Elected BFA Co-Vice Chair, Treasurer. Recently retired CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason is elected co-vice chair and treasurer of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Broadcasters Foundation chair Phil Lombardo declares that, “Dan is one of the Foundation’s most ardent ambassadors and he gives tirelessly of his time. The entire board is grateful that he is taking on these additional responsibilities to advance our charitable mission of helping broadcasters in need.” As CBS Radio’s president/CEO, Mason oversaw more than 125 stations in 27 markets. The National Association of Broadcasters’ executive committee honored him as its 2012 “National Radio Award” winner for his outstanding leadership in the industry.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage and ObamaCare Rulings, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Trump-NBC Fallout, Iran Nukes Negotiations, NY Prison Escape Aftermath, Greece-EU Tensions, and ISIS Atrocities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/29). Last week’s rulings by the Supreme Court supporting federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act and making same-sex marriage legal in all states; the potential candidates for president in 2016; Donald Trump’s skirmish with NBC over the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants; the negotiations between the West and Iran over its nuclear program; the capture of the second escapee from a New York prison and the aftermath of the ordeal; the economic tensions being created by Greece’s inability to pay its debt to the IMF and talk of its exit from the EU; and the ongoing atrocities being perpetrated by ISIS were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Joan Hamburg to Host Weekend Show on WABC, New York. After a long career at crosstown heritage AM news/talker WOR, Cumulus Media announces that New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is joining its news/talker 77 WABC to host a weekly Saturday program to air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Cumulus says on the show Hamburg “will continue discussing the most important social, economic and political issues that impact listeners’ lives each week. Hamburg will also interview major celebrities and powerful political figures on the program.” In addition, the deal calls for Hamburg to produce weekly features and exclusive programs available in digital formats. Hamburg comments, “How excited I am to join legendary WABC radio and work with Kim Bryant, Craig Schwalb and the rest of the Cumulus family. And what a treat to join their roster of the best talk talent in the country. New York get ready — the conversation is about to begin.”
Talk Host Jim Villanucci Resigns from KXL, Portland. There is little known at this time about what has transpired to cause midday talk show host Jim Villanucci to resign from his position with Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland but a Tweet from KXL’s Lars Larson states simply that Villanucci has resigned for “personal reasons” and that Larson wishes him well. Filling in during the daypart is Victoria Taft.
Tension Between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Management Over Fox Sports Simulcast. According to a story by Neil Best in Newsday, WFAN, New York afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa has been ordered by CBS RADIO management – under threat of lawsuit – not to gripe publicly about the simulcast of his show being bumped from cable’s Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 for live sporting events. Best reports that while Francesa didn’t talk specifically about the Fox Sports simulcast issues, he said on his radio show that in contrast to a corporate statement to the contrary, he has been threatened with legal action if he speaks publicly about anything that costs the company money, with the implication being the Fox Sports arrangement. In other words, he could be held liable for any income CBS loses if the Fox Sports relationship dissolves. Read Best’s piece here.
Cisco Cotto Joins CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM, Chicago. Newsman and talk show host Cisco Cotto is becoming part of the staff at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM-AM and WCFS-FM, Chicago, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Cotto has worked in the Chicago market his entire career. He started at CBS’ former all-news WMAQ and has served as news anchor at Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM (where he also went on to host a talk show) as well as at Salem’s news/talk WIND, and the Moody Bible Institute’s Christian talker WMBI. His position at WBBM and WCFS is anchor/reporter. Read Feder’s entire column here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Adds Comic Jim Krenn to Friday Program. Joining the “KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway” each Friday is Jim Krenn, a popular Pittsburgh radio personality and comedian. KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci says, “KDKA is delighted to have Jim Krenn on the station each Friday morning. It’s like adding another big bat to an all-star lineup, and will give KDKA listeners another reason to smile heading into the weekend.” Krenn is a Pittsburgh native who worked successfully in Steel City radio for 24 years. He is currently producing a weekly podcast titled, “Jim Krenn: No Restrictions.”
Dreyer Named Director of Integrated Media for NRG. Appointed to the newly created position of director of integrated media for NRG Media is Erica Dreyer. In making the announcement, NRG president and CEO Mary Quass noted that Dreyer recently served in the same post for both Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois and Mid-West Family Broadcasting of Rockford for the past seven-plus years. Quass states, “Digital media offers the greatest potential revenue growth for radio today. Erica Dreyer has earned seven awards for excellence in the digital arena. Dreyer’s the maverick we need to lead this new department.” In this position, Dreyer will be responsible for infusing new inventory and pricing techniques into NRG’s interactive portfolio. Dreyer will also train and educate sales departments in the station group to produce more sophisticated, high-value integrated solutions for clients and help educate advertisers about integrated solutions for their business needs. Dreyer starts with NRG on September 30.
WPHT, Philadelphia Speaker Series Hosts Senator Ted Cruz. Tonight’s event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is the latest in the WPHT Speaker Series and will feature Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussing the First and Fourth Amendments. The program takes place in observance of Constitution Day and WPHT morning drive personality Chris Stigall is moderating the discussion.
The Big Issue of the Day. Pictured here are ESPN personalities (from left to right) Jemele Hill, Jane McManus and Cari Champion in the studio during the production of the podcast “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL on ESPN Radio.” The show was a joint effort by espnW and ESPN Radio. Also appearing on the program were espnW personalities Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain. ESPN host Keith Olbermann and National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill joined the conversation as guests.
The NFL and Domestic Violence, U.S.-Led Coalition Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Run, New Benghazi Investigation, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Scotland Succession Referendum, and Obama Amnesty Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The ongoing furor over the domestic violence issues plaguing the NFL; debate over the potential effectiveness of the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS; the looming mid-term elections and how they may affect majorities in Congress; Hillary Clinton’s weekend appearance in Iowa and her possible run for president in 2016; the new Benghazi investigation; the status of the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the potential for a pandemic; Thursday’s referendum on whether Scotland breaks away from the U.K.; and Senator Ted Cruz’s effort to prevent amnesty action by President Obama were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rick Sanchez Joins WIOD, Miami in New Lineup. Clear Channel Media + Entertainment news/talk WIOD, Miami announces a new program lineup that includes cable news/talk veteran Rick Sanchez in the late morning slot. Program director Grace Blazer says on the station’s website, “Our new lineup reflects 610 WIOD’S strengthening commitment to high-quality local news, accurate weather, important traffic conditions, and the perfect balance of highly talented local and national personalities. The result will be a topical, informative and entertaining listener experience for the residents and businesses of South Florida.” The lineup includes “South Florida’s First News with Jimmy Cefalo” in morning drive, Sanchez from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon followed by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. The new program schedule takes effect on January 6.
Cuts at CBS Chicago Leave Anchor/Reporter Steve Grzanich Out. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has been writing about budget-related cuts at the CBS Radio cluster in Chicago for several days and now we know more about who’s been affected. At all-news WBBM-AM, anchor/reporter Steve Grzanich exits after 20 years with the station. ChicagoRadioandMedia.com tips us that Grzanich posted the following message on his Facebook page: “Dear Friends: I have breaking news…about me! After 20 years, I am signing off at WBBM Newsradio to explore other opportunities. I am hungry for a new challenge and must embark on the journey to find it starting now. But don’t go away! I’ll still be here in Chicago and on Facebook with news, weather and other stuff…just not on the 8s. Thank you for listening! Stay tuned for news about my next chapter.” The cluster also saw the release of longtime production/imaging staffer Michael Horn who worked for sister CHR WBBM-FM “B96.” Horn has been working with Killer Hertz since May of 2012 and ChicagoRadioandMedia.com reports he will continue to do freelance imaging work while he looks for his next opportunity. Feder reports that a number of sales staffers have been let go from the cluster.
Other CBS Radio Cuts Hit Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. According to sources in Southern California, there have been four layoffs at CBS stations there including KTRH news anchor Bob Malik and KNX traffic reporter Tommy Jaxson. The two others are believed to be front office staffers. In Pittsburgh, changes come to sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” as Vinnie Richichi exits the Vinnie & Cook midday program and Paul Alexander leaves the morning drive show. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik reports that Richichi and Ron Cook never got along, it was obvious on the air and that led to Richichi’s departure, plus morning host Gregg Giannotti was not happy working with Alexander. Finally, in Atlanta Kendra G. and Christopher “Crash” Clark exit the Ryan Cameron morning show at urban contemporary WVEE “V103.”
Lineup Changes at Fox Sports Radio Network in the New Year. The national lineup from Fox Sports Radio Network will look a little different come January 5, 2014. Gone from the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot will be Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman from “Fox Sports Primetime” with replacement(s) to be announced later. J.T. the Brick moves from the overnight slot to the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot accompanied by sidekick Tomm Looney, displacing the current Petros & Money show. Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith will continue to be heard on Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles. Rob Dibble and Amy Van Dyken leave “Fox Sports Tonight” and the NFL Network’s and Fox Sports Network’s Jason Smith takes over that show airing from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET while Fox Sports Radio weekend personality Ben Maller becomes the 2:00 am to 6:00 am host.
Cox Enterprises Promotes Dyer to President/CEO. Current chief operating officer John Dyer will be elevated to Cox Enterprises president/chief executive officer when he officially succeeds retiring CEO Jimmy Hayes on Wednesday, January 1. Cox Enterprises is the parent company of Cox Media Group. According to Cox Enterprises chairman Jim Kennedy, “In the 36 years John has worked at Cox, he has always done a terrific job and always risen to meet every new challenge he was presented. He has been an incredible chief operating officer and he understands all our businesses. He is committed to our employees and our customers. I am excited to work with [him] as he leads our company in an exciting future.” Dyer comments, “Cox is a company that values its employees, delivers superior products and services to its customers, and strives to be a responsible and sustainable corporate partner in the communities in which we operate. I am excited about the ways we will continue to grow our existing businesses and invest in future opportunities.” In addition to Cox Media Group, Dyer will be responsible for Cox Communications, Manheim, and AutoTrader Group, as well as corporate functions including financial operations, human resources and administration.
Bob Murray Takes Leave from WTAX, Springfield to Battle Brain Tumor. “Morning Newswatch” host Bob Murray tells listeners in an open letter that he is taking time from the Saga Communications news/talk outlet to focus on “getting better and being with loved ones.” Murray writes: “As you have probably heard, I have decided to elect for an extended medical leave of absence from my post as the host of the ‘WTAX Morning Newswatch’ due to newly discovered health concerns. Many people have enquired (sic) into what is going on, and I thought it would be best you hear it from me. I have been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer and will be taking this leave from work as an opportunity to focus my time on getting better and being with family and loved ones. While this is far from an ideal situation, we are remaining positive and focusing on staying strong. In the days following the announcement, it has been so incredibly humbling to feel the outpour of prayers and support from all directions, and I am pretty positive I will never be able to properly express how much that means to my family and me. I also want to thank the WTAX family and central Illinois area for their many years of loyal listenership. It has truly been an honor to start each day with you, tackling the issues that matter to us. I hope to be back in the capital soon, focusing on what I love, delivering the news, sports, entertainment and important local happenings to you.”
‘Jay Talking’ Permanent Overnight Show on WBZ-AM, Boston. Bradley Jay’s “Jay Talking” program is now the official overnight program on CBS Radio’s news and talk WBZ-AM, Boston. Jay has been working in the news and talk realm for some time (he also serves as the executive producer for “Nightside with Dan Rea”) but he got his start in music radio and worked at the legendary rock outlet WBCN. In fact, he hosted the last show at “The Rock of Boston” before a frequency swap and format change ended the station’s run.
NRG, Omaha Names Davis KOOO Brand Manager. In addition to being appointed brand manager of NRG Media, Omaha adult hits KOOO “Big O 101.9,” talk host Crash Davis takes on marketing director duties for that Nebraska market’s entire NRG cluster. Operations manager Jeff Lynn comments, “Crash has been an integral part of our team for the past year. He is very versatile and has a keen sense of what the Omaha listener wants and loves about ‘Big O.’ He brings many of the talents and skill sets we need to propel ‘Big O’ to new heights in the ratings and to drive results for our advertisers.” Davis remarks, “I am delighted to have a more prominent role on a station I have watched evolve over the past several years. I have great respect for [morning talent] Dave Wingert and the rest of the on-air team. Our great variety of music and the content we talk about resonates with listeners. I will do my part to enhance our reputation with the listeners and advertisers.” Davis has been in Omaha radio the past 15 years, including as a host on NRG talk outlet KOIL “The Mighty 1290” and as the afternoon drive talent on cross-town Clear Channel-owned talk station KFAB.
Salem Selects Dr. Frank Wright As President/COO. Eleven-year National Religious Broadcasters president/chief executive officer Dr. Frank Wright will join Salem Communications Corporation on Wednesday, January 1 as president/chief operating officer. Dr. Wright will report directly to Salem chief executive officer and director Edward Atsinger. “Frank has more than 20 years of experience working in – and with – broadcast media organizations,” Atsinger comments. “He has also developed a robust network among DC-based public policy organizations, as well as DC-based political organizations. Frank is an effective leader and team-builder with a strong entrepreneurial background, and he has extensive executive experience in strategic planning and organizational structure. I expect him to hit the ground running and work closely with me in executing our business strategies.” Before joining the NRB, Dr. Wright spent seven years as executive director of the Center for Christian Statesmanship; he has a doctorate in finance.
Will Salem Purchase Eagle Publishing on January 15? The story that Politico reported late last week is a done deal, according to BuzzFeed which states staffers at Eagle Publishing have been told the sale will take place on January 15. According to the BuzzFeed piece, Salem Communications will add to its conservative print and digital assets with the acquisition and that as many as 90% of staffers will remain with the Eagle division; it’s the upper management positions that will be eliminated due to redundancy. Eagle operates RedState.com, Human Events and Regnery Publishing. Salem recently acquired Twitchy.com from conservative pundit, columnist and author Michelle Malkin.
Sean’s New Digs! Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Sean Hannity (right) is pictured here with pundit and author Ann Coulter (center) and fellow Premiere star Glenn Beck (left) at Hannity’s new Premiere Networks studios at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Hannity leaves his longtime home base at WABC, New York at the end of the year and his program will emanate from flagship WOR, New York beginning in January.
Budget Deal, NSA Data Mining Ruling, ObamaCare Criticism, Mega Millions Jackpot, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Marxism Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The battle in the U.S. Senate over the details of the Congressional budget deal; the aftermath of a judge’s ruling the NSA data mining program “probably unconstitutional”; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Pope Francis’ “Marxist” economic philosophy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.