Alpha Media Adds Translator to Sports WOIC, Columbia. Adding translator W235CH, St. Matthews, South Carolina at 94.9 FM to Alpha Media’s “ESPN Columbia” gives the station a solid FM presence southeast of the Columbia market center. Alpha says this simulcast of Class C WOIC-AM, Columbia “will significantly increase the coverage of the station throughout Richland and Lexington counties. At the same time, the station adds ESPN’s SEC expert Paul Finebaum to its daily lineup.
Titans TE Delanie Walker to Appear on Live, Weekly Show on WGFX, Nashville. Unlike a lot of weekly shows that carry the name of a pro athlete, the Delanie Walker show on Cumulus Media’s sports talker WGFX, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” will involve Walker joining the regular midday crew in person, before a studio audience at the 104.5 The Zone Music Performance Studio. Program director Brad Willis says the Tennessee Titans’ Walker will sit down with the “Midday 180 Team” – Chad Withrow, Jonathan Hutton and Paul Kuharsky – every Tuesday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm during the football season.
WTMM, Albany Shucks Half of Afternoon Show. Sports talker WTMM, Albany “ESPN 104.5 FM” has parted company with Bob “Wolf” Wohlfeld after about seven months as co-host of the “Levack and Wolf” show with Jeff Levack. Wohlfeld joined the station not long after former WTMM programmer and personality Armen Williams exited to take the PD post at KKFN, Denver. There’s no word from Townsquare Media if it plans to replace Wohlfeld or continue with Levack hosting solo.
The Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 5-9. The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, including their performances at Wednesday’s candidate’s forum, were the top news/talk story of the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Hillary Clinton email scandal. Coming in at #3 was the Iran cash payment controversy and the naval skirmish involving Iran and U.S. ships, followed by the Syria conflict and the related U.S.-Russian relations at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Hangin’ Out with Beantown’s Best. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and his wife Bernadette Duncan attended a star-studded affiliate and sponsor appreciation party last evening at the Boston home of Howie and Kathy Carr celebrating the signing of Boston Red Sox pitching legend Curt Schilling to the Howie Carr Radio Network. Schilling will host a Saturday morning show (9:00 am ET to 12:00 noon ET) beginning tomorrow (9/10). Below, Harrison (r) is pictured with TownSquare Media’s Southeastern Massachusetts news/talk powerhouse WBSM, New Bedford’s GM Mark Stachowski (l) and legendary morning host Phil Paleologos (c). The Harrisons (above) are also pictured with Schilling (r) who told the crowd, “I will be over-prepared, I will not be shy about the things I believe in, but I also won’t go off the rails. I do not have a racist bone in my body and I am not homophobic [referring to recent controversies]. I am coachable and I am not doing this to just be another radio talk show voice – I am doing it to become the best in the world at it.”
Odds & Sods. On Tuesday (9/13), Herman Cain takes his WSB-AM, Atlanta-based syndicated talk show on the road to Smyrna, Georgia where he’ll record his show live from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Cain is a guest of the Smyrna Business Association which is bringing him in as its featured speaker for September. At the event, fans will have the opportunity to get their picture taken with Cain and purchase an autographed copy of the special edition of his latest book, The Right Problems: What the President, Congress, and Every Candidate Should Be Working On (Post Hill Press 2016)…..At Entercom Buffalo, the broadcaster and Pegula Sports and Entertainment have agreed to extend the long-standing broadcast partnership between sports talk WGR “Sportsradio 550” and the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres through the 2020-21 seasons. The WGR Bills and Sabres radio networks are collectively heard on more than 20 radio stations across New York, Northwestern Pennsylvania, and Southern Ontario. John Murphy, Mark Kelso, and Sal Cappacio will continue as the Bills broadcast team. Rick Jeanneret, Dan Dunleavy, and Rob Ray remain as the Sabres radio team. The deal also means WGR will continue to air “Sabres Hockey Hotline” on weekdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, with hosts Andrew Peters and Craig Rivet. The Bills-themed John Murphy show, with Murphy and former Buffalo Bill Donald Jones is heard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Both shows will also be simulcast on MSG…..Philadelphia Eagles great (and Villanova standout) Brian Westbrook is now part of the broadcast team for the unofficial Eagles pre-game show that airs on Greater Media’s WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic.” Westbrook will join Devon Givens and Michael Bradley for the three-hour show.
Milwaukee Radio Personality Eric Von Dies at 58. For 30 years, Eric Von was a voice in Milwaukee’s urban community. He spent most of his radio career hosting a show on WMCS and only exited when the station changed its format. Eric Von died on Thursday (9/8) at age 58. Friends and family tell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Von had been dealing with health issues of late and suffered a heart attack about a month ago. He’d been hosting a two-hour morning show on Courier Communications’ WNOV. He was also instrumental in the recent media project titled “Precious Lives” that explored the causes and consequences of gun violence on children in the city.
Beck Ordered to Identify Two Confidential Sources. In a ruling Tuesday (8/9), U.S. district court judge Patti Saris determined Glenn Beck must divulge the names of two sources cited for comments responsible for the Premiere Networks host to be sued for defamation and slander by a student falsely accused in early reports of involvement in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. The suit against Beck was filed by Abdulrahman Alharbi, a Saudi Arabian student who Beck claims was the “money man” behind those bombings. He called Alharbi a terrorist – although then-secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said publicly that Alharbi had been questioned about the bombings and he was cleared. Judge Saris categorized testimony about the sources’ information by Beck, producer Joe Weasel, and former The Blaze executive Joel Cheatwood “vague and often contradictory.” She further noted that documents supplied to the court did not validate the story Beck’s people say they were told. On his radio show yesterday (Wednesday, 8/10), Beck emphasized protecting the identities of sources is a longtime First Amendment tradition. The sources, he maintains, are at risk of being killed by “our government or our politicians or political institutions.” Beck, however, was victorious on the issue of applying Massachusetts law – not Texas law – to the case. For that reason, punitive damages will not be awarded. Saris dismissed a claim about another Beck comment that the judge determined applied to the bombers – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
WPRT Slots “Jared & The GM” in PM Drive. The weekday 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm pairing by Cromwell Group Nashville sports outlet WPRT “ESPN 102.5 The Game” of Jared Stillman and former Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese (“Jared & The GM”) starts next Monday (8/15). Stillman – who will be transitioning from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon – comments, “We have taken great strides to give the city of Nashville the best sports product and have had a lot of fun doing it. We have an unbelievable team and I am absolutely thrilled to be working with Floyd Reese, who is an amazing [football] general manager and a great host – but most importantly – an even better person.” Reese – who moves over from being a “Sports Night” co-host – remarks, “I am really looking forward to our show. Jared was born and raised in Nashville and has been following Nashville sports his whole life. He is extremely passionate about sports and talk radio. As a sidelight, it’ll be a tremendous look at two generations: the baby-boomers, the finest generation ever produced, as well as millennials, who produced Pokémon Go.” Reese is obviously a baby-boomer, while Stillman is a millennial. In Nielsen Audio‘s July 2016 PPM sweep, “The Game” ranks #21 (1.0, 6+), while cross-town format competitor – Cumulus Media‘s WGFX “104.5 The Zone” – is #12 (3.7, 6+); Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9” is on top with an 8.2 (6+).
Kellogg Transfers to Cumulus Fort Walton Beach as OM. Inbound from Columbia, Missouri where he was operations manager for Cumulus Media Columbia-Jefferson City the past 12 years, Chris Kellogg relocates to Fort Walton Beach for similar duties at the company’s five-station Florida cluster. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete De Simone states, “The addition of Chris to our team will afford us the additional focus we need to continue to grow our ratings and revenue. We are excited to have the collective firepower of this dynamic programming team at work for our brands, listeners, and advertisers.” Kellogg comments, “Pete has created a terrific atmosphere to foster radio excellence. I appreciate his confidence in me and I am excited to collaborate with the programming team.” The Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach cluster consists of talk WFTW; WKSM “99 Rock”; adult contemporary WNCV “Coast 93.3”; country WYZB “Nash FM”; and CHR WZNS “Z-96.” In addition to his OM duties, Kellogg will program WNCV and WFTW, as well as co-host mornings (with Lisa Captain) on WNCV. He succeeds Hayden Green, who continues programming “Z-96” as he has done the past 16 years and is the station’s afternoon drive talent; Green has been with the cluster the past 23 years.
Neuhoff Names Shamus VP/Programming & Content. Seven-year Neuhoff Communications Lafayette, Indiana operations manager Mike Shamus (“Shamus”) is appointed to the newly created position of corporate vice president of programming & content. Neuhoff Communications chief executive officer Beth Neuhoff comments, “‘Shamus’ is a tremendous talent – a proven manager and leader with a great vision for growing and improving the Neuhoff product lineup. We are confident he will take ‘Media Made Locally’ to a whole new level.” Chief operating officer Mike Hulvey remarks, “We knew we had a rare opportunity to capitalize on Shamus’ vision for connecting with our audiences in meaningful and engaging ways. With our recent expansion, ‘Shamus’ is the guy to motivate and inspire our content and programming teams to create the best local media.” According to “Shamus,” The Neuhoff stations “are truly connected to the communities we serve. Knowing I can enhance that local audience relationship will truly solidify our position as the most important source of information and entertainment in the region.” Neuhoff owns 23 properties in five markets: Bloomington, Danville, Decatur, and Springfield (all Illinois) and Lafayette (Indiana). In addition to his operations manager duties, “Shamus” does morning drive (“Shamus & Annie”) on Neuhoff Lafayette’s WKOA “Lafayette’s Country Leader K-105.”
Odds & Sods. Former Greater Media-owned WMGC, Detroit sports talk host Sean Baligian will co-host Detroit Lions’ pre-game and post-game shows this football season on cross-town Cumulus Media talker WJR. Baligian will be teamed with WJR sports director Steve Courtney. The two see their first action together tonight (Thursday, 8/11) in the initial pre-season game as the Lions play the Pittsburgh Steelers ….. Theater columnist of The New York Post Michael Reidel joins Salem New York talker WNYM “970 The Answer” to host a Saturday 9:00 am – 10:00 am lifestyle show, “On The Town with Michael Riedel.” Vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley comments, “We are thrilled to have Michael on our team. We have a strong desire to support Broadway as the center point of the New York economy and Michael epitomizes both New York City and Broadway. He is going to add a unique quality to our station that is distinctly New York.” ….. McAllen talker KURV shifts Radio America‘s “The Dana Show” to 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. “She communicates the perfect mix of personality, entertainment, and uncompromising values for a new generation of talk listeners,” notes program director Sergio Sanchez.
Bob & Sheri Note Milestone Anniversary. Syndicated from Greater Media-owned flagship WLNK “107.9 The Link,” Charlotte – “Bob & Sheri” traveled to Hudson, New York to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first affiliate, iHeartMedia hot AC WCTW “98.5 The Cat.” Left to right in front of the WCTW prize wheel are Sheri Lynch, WCTW’s Tina Chambers, “The Cat” operations manager Bill Williams, and Bob Lacey. “Bob & Sheri” now have more than 50 affiliates. Their show airs weekdays 5:00 am – 10:00 am on “The Cat.”
Matchmaker Titus Signs With KMG Networks. Plans are in place through KMG Networks’ Krantz Media Group to roll out a radio show next year featuring matchmaker, relationship/dating expert, and author Matt Titus. KMG Networks founder and chief executive officer Gary Krantz says, “The minute I saw Matt in action, we knew immediately that he is the guy to step up and take the job that has been open in radio for years – that of the ultimate national relationship expert for today’s high tech, mobile listeners, appealing to both men and women. We are excited to launch Matt on radio, streaming, and podcasting through our new talent division and watch him soar.” At first, Titus will be available as a guest to stations on a market-exclusive basis through KMG. Among the stations on which he has already appeared are the morning shows of iHeartMedia Detroit CHR WKQI “Channel 95-5; co-owned classic rock WBGG “Big 105.9,” Miami; and Lotus Communications-owned KLPX “Tucson’s Real Classic Rock.” Titus’ television credits include Lifetime‘s 2009 reality show “Matched in Manhattan” and NBC-TV’s “The Match Off.” In addition, he has written “Why Hasn’t He Called?” and “Why Hasn’t He Proposed?” Earlier this year, KMG Talent, in association with Sungate Partners, launched “Always in Fashion” with Mark Weber.
Burns Fumes Over Nielsen’s Pending Policies. In a letter he sent yesterday (Wednesday, 8/10) to the FCC, the Nielsen Company, and the Federal Trade Commission, 3 Daughters Media chief executive officer Gary Burns addressed several issues including his opposition to the way radio stations are counted in specific markets and total line reporting. Nielsen has told subscribers total line reporting will be available only to qualified subscribers “in good standing.” Burns – who owns and operates eight stations in Virginia – writes, “I have strongly disagreed with the Commission’s policy of outsourcing its responsibility for defining radio markets to two commercial enterprises, Nielsen Ratings and BIA/Kelsey. Under a new Nielsen policy, only clients of Nielsen will be able to dictate how many stations an entity can actually own. Subscribers already dictate what counties are home to the metro. If this proposed new Nielsen rule stands, it seems that the Commission will be required to find a new method of determining how many stations are home to a metro. I respectfully request that the Commission weigh in on this policy and [ask] that Nielsen delay implementation of their new policy in order to insure that station counts are accurate, consistent, and to avoid unintended consequences of this new policy.”
Savage, Westwood One Sign Multi-Year Renewal. Under terms of a just-signed pact, “The Savage Nation” host Michael Savage and Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One will continue their long-term relationship. Westwood One president and Cumulus Media’s executive vice president of corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes comments, “We are proud to extend our relationship with this top-notch talent [who has] a unique voice in American radio. He has some of the most engaged fans and is a proven, consistent, ratings generator. We look forward to many more years together.” Savage states that his Westwood One deal, “caps my winning the National Radio Hall of Fame nomination. My show is famous for my ‘news, views, and reviews,’ and we will take it to new levels in January 2017. We will be doing a three-dimensional show on broadcast stations, as a live stream, and with special segments created only for subscribers.” With a Ph.D. from the University of California – Berkeley, Savage was the 2007 recipient of TALKERS‘s “Freedom of Speech” award. He has authored more than 25 books with his newest – “Scorched Earth” – coming out next month. First aired locally in San Francisco in 1994, “The Savage Nation” now airs nationally on 235 stations.
Who Are Radio’s Highest-Paid Talents? Whether it is professional athletes or movie/television stars, we are constantly fascinated by the salaries of those with an elevated profile. Some will find it curious – if not grossly unfair – for instance, that Alex Rodriguez will draw approximately $27 million next year from the New York Yankees to do basically nothing. There is a curiosity as well about the W-2 forms of certain radio personalities. In a Karen Blankfeld-written Forbes Magazine article, we discover the identity of the industry’s top six moneymakers. The names and perhaps even the order might not totally surprise you, but the figures could. Checking in at #6 is Glenn Beck ($13 million). “Aside from his conservative-leaning news site The Blaze, he makes a small fortune annually from his publishing imprint Mercury Ink,” Blankfeld notes. Bill O’Reilly ($18.5 million) is listed at #5 but his inclusion here is a stretch since the Fox News anchor does not have a long-form radio presence. Fox News stable-mate/Premiere Networks‘ Sean Hannity ($29 million) comes in at #4 with Blankfeld remarking he “remains the go-to host for conversations and confessions with the GOP elite.” By now, you have probably correctly guessed the top three, but in a countdown hat-tip, the radio talent at #3 is iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR KIIS “Kiss FM” morning star and Premiere Networks’ “AT 40” host Ryan Seacrest ($55 million), who isn’t hurting too much without the “American Idol” checks. With a staggering $79 million, another Premiere Networks personality – Rush Limbaugh – is listed at #2. “He celebrated 28 years with iHeartMedia in August by renewing his contract,” Blankfeld states. Eclipsing everyone though at #1 is Howard Stern ($85 million) and it is perhaps fitting he is first, given his self-described “King of All Media” moniker. “His new five-year, eight-digit contract with Sirius will extend to a new app and video streaming of the show,” Blankfeld explains. Add the figures up for these six stars and the total is approximately $280 million. Forbes bases the list on estimated June 1, 2015 – June 1, 2016 pretax income, before deducting management and legal fees.
Emmis New York City Makes Morgan SVP/Market Manager. It is quite a significant week for Emmis upper management. As we reported yesterday (TALKERS, Tuesday, 8/9), Chuck Williams takes over as senior vice president and market manager of the four-station cluster in the company’s home market of Indianapolis. There, he succeeds Charlie Morgan, who served in that capacity the past seven years before being named interim market manager of Emmis New York earlier this year. Morgan now removes the “interim” title, as he officially is named Emmis New York City’s senior vice president and market manager. Company president and chief operating officer Patrick Walsh declares that, “Charlie is one of radio’s truly gifted leaders. His inspirational leadership has been a catalyst in improving our results in Indianapolis and his deft skills are already having an impact in New York. I am thrilled he has decided to focus this next exciting stage of his career on ensuring [our New York City stations] continue to play an important role in the lives of listeners in the Tri-State area and these brands deliver on their enormous potential.” Morgan comments, “When a 35+-year radio veteran can honestly call his most recent seven years the most fun and most rewarding of his career, you know you are talking to one very fortunate man. That statement is true for me, thanks to the company and the culture that [founder, chief executive officer, chair] Jeff Smulyan, [president of radio programming] Rick Cummings, and Pat Walsh have built and nourished. Add to that the all-star team of talent I have worked with in Indianapolis, and you begin to understand my good fortune. For the past seven months, I have had the rare privilege of working with the talented team at Emmis New York. We have legendary brands in the most vibrant city in America. I have fallen in love with the people, the passion, and the opportunity to build on the legacy in New York.” Prior to joining Emmis, the Butler University alum spent more than 21 years as vice president and general manager of Susquehanna (now Cumulus Media) Indianapolis and he is a former president and chief operating officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions. In addition, Morgan is board chair of the Country Radio Seminar. Results from Nielsen Audio‘s July 2016 PPM report indicate Emmis New York City urban AC WBLS is in fifth-place (5.1, 6+); rhythmic CHR sibling WQHT “Hot 97” is tenth (3.5, 6+); and co-owned gospel WLIB is #31 (.4, 6+).
Cumulus Media Nashville Names Meltesen Sr. AE/Sponsorship Sales. The former publisher of Nash Country Weekly – Jeff Meltesen – is appointed senior account executive/sponsorship sales for Cumulus Media Nashville. He will focus on clients of the cluster’s two country stations (WKDF and WSM-FM) and sponsorship sales of events/promotions for all Cumulus Media Nashville properties. WKDF “Nash FM” and WSM-FM “Nash Icon” general sales manager Rhonda Rollins comments, “We are thrilled to have someone of Jeff’s experience join our team. His sales, business, and marketing acumen are market tested and will help us elevate the conversation with our customers.” Meltesen remarks, “Cumulus Nashville’s high quality events featuring high profile artists present a unique opportunity for brands that want to make an impact in Nashville. Our sponsorships are backed by the power of our popular Nashville radio stations, so there is built-in media value for our partners.” Before joining Nash Country Weekly, Meltesen was marketing director for Nashville Songwriters Association International. Up a whopping +1.4 from June, WSM-FM “Nash Icon” finishes second (7.3, 6+) in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2016 Nashville PPM sweep, nine-tenths behind Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9” (8.2, 6+). Elsewhere in the Cumulus Media Nashville cluster, urban AC WQQK “92-Q” is #7 (5.2); WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” is #8 (4.6, 6+); and tied at #12 – each with 3.7 (6+) – are sports WGFX “104.5 The Zone” and WKDF “Nash FM.”
A Case of Copyright Infringement? Apparently, that is what Paul Bereswill is thinking, as he becomes the most recent photographer to sue a radio company over a copyrighted photo used on a radio station’s website. Specifically, the case in the southern district of New York has Bereswill alleging that Cumulus Media New York City talker WABC used his pictures of New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey and a post-game photo of the NHL‘s New York Rangers on the WABC website without his prior consent. In addition to attorney’s costs/fees, Bereswill reportedly is seeking damages and profits or the statutory $150,000 per work.
Ex-Talkers Win Minnesota Political Contests. One of Rush Limbaugh‘s former guest hosts – Jason Lewis – defeated Darlene Miller and John Howe yesterday (Tuesday, 8/9) to win the Republican nomination for congress in Minnesota’s second congressional district. Lewis spent ten years on Minneapolis talker KSTP-AM and later was heard on cross-town KTLK-FM. Five years ago to the day, Genesis Communications Network began syndicating his show. Lewis will face Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nominee Angie Craig and Independence Party candidate Paula Overby in November. Meanwhile in that state’s sixth district, another former talk show host – Republican representative Tom Emmer – won his primary race for re-election. Emmer was a state legislator before co-hosting morning drive with Bob Davis at KTLK-FM in 2011- 2013. Emmer was Minnesota’s Republican nominee for governor in 2010, losing in a very close race to Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s Mark Dayton.
Odds & Sods: Starting in four weeks (9/6), “The Sports Junkies,” the 6:00 am – 10:00 am program on CBS Radio Washington, D.C. sports outlet WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan,” will be simulcast on regional cable sports network CSN Mid-Atlantic. WJFK-FM program director Chris Kinard comments, “‘The Sports Junkies’ are the most dynamic radio personalities in [the market] with a dedicated fan base of listeners on radio, streaming, and via podcast. We are thrilled to work with our partners at CSN on this important brand extension of our original programming.” ….. Topics ranging from research and insights affecting radio listeners and advertisers to storytelling will be featured in “Radio Impact Reports,” a new blog from the RAB. According to the first post, the blog will, “share current news, information and insights about broadcast radio, while using this social space to encourage an open dialogue with broadcasters, advertisers, agencies and even listeners. One thing is for certain – our focus will be on continued growth and innovations taking place, ensuring radio’s bright and exciting future.”
Doris Freeman Passes. The class of 2014 Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame inductee died this past Saturday (8/6). Doris Freeman began her career approximately 80 years ago as a feature radio singer and tap dancer. She raised millions of dollars over the decades for organizations such as the West Tennessee Cerebral Palsy Center, Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, March of Dimes, and the United Negro College Fund. Freeman hosted daily and weekly radio shows on Jackson, Tennessee’s WDXI; a daily children’s television show in Jackson; and headed up Cousin Tuny Enterprises, one of Jackson’s first advertising agencies. As a single mother of four, she became Jackson’s first female radio advertising representative with WDXI in 1948 and later at WTJS, and WJAK. For more than 20 years, Freeman produced/hosted live radio coverage of the Miss Tennessee Pageant. Visitation will be held tomorrow (Thursday, 8/11) 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Jackson, Tennessee’s Northside Methodist Church; funeral service (also at the Northside Methodist Church) is this Friday (8/12) at 11:00 am.
iHeartMedia Second Quarter Net Revenue Rises 1.2%. That figure is based on net revenue of $1.6 billion during Q2 of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015 and that is for the whole company. Separating the radio and digital business from the outdoor segment, iHeartMedia reports an increase of 3.2% in net revenue due in large part to live events, the traffic and weather services, broadcast and digital advertising, as well as the Premiere Networks syndication segment, especially news/talk.
Townsquare Media Reports Q2 Financials; Radio Segment Up 3.5%. The company reports on its two business segments – Local Marketing Solutions, which includes radio plus its digital products, and Entertainment, which provides live events and music and lifestyle content. During Q2, Local Marketing Solutions pro forma net revenue increased $2.9 million, or 3.5%, to $86.7 million (including political). For the first half of 2016, Local Marketing Solutions net revenue increased $8.8 million, or 5.8%, to $161.9 million (including political). Townsquare Media chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We are pleased to report solid results for the first half of 2016, with pro forma net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA increasing approximately 4% over the prior year, with strength in our Local Marketing Solutions segment. In the second quarter, we delivered net revenue growth of 16.7% over the prior year. On a pro forma basis, net revenue increased 2.1%, which was in line with our expectations, and Adjusted EBITDA increased 4.1%, which exceeded our guidance. In addition, we were able to strengthen our balance sheet through the repurchase of $17 million of Unsecured Senior Notes.”
Saga Communications Reports Net Revenue Up 6.1%. That figure – comparing Q2 of 2016 with the same period a year ago – is based on net revenue of $36.4 million for the whole company. The Saga Communications radio division’s net revenue mirrors that at +6.1% on net revenue of $30.8 million. However, on a pro forma basis, the radio net revenue dipped 1.7%. Saga notes that free cash flow increased 15.6% to $6.5 million. Operating Income increased 12.6% to $8.4 million. Station operating expense increased 4.6% to $25.4 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations). Same Station net revenue increased 0.8% to $34.2 million and same station operating expense was flat at $24.0 million. Net income for the period was $4.8 million ($0.82 per fully diluted share compared to $0.77 for the same period last year).
Radio One Delivers Positive Second Quarter; Net Revenue Up 2.4%, But Radio Flat. That 2.4% is for the company as a whole, for which net revenue was approximately $122.7 million compared to the same period in 2015. Station operating income was approximately $48.9 million, an increase of 5.5%. Radio One breaks its net revenue report into six categories: Radio Advertising, Political Advertising, Digital Advertising, Cable Television Advertising, Cable Television Affiliate Fees, and Event Revenues & Other. The company says, “Net revenues from our radio broadcasting segment decreased 0.2% for the quarter ended June 30, 2016, versus the same period in 2015. We experienced net revenue growth in eight of our radio markets (most significantly in Washington D.C., Charlotte and Cleveland); however, this growth was offset by declines in other markets (with Columbus, Philadelphia, Houston and Detroit experiencing the most significant declines). Reach Media’s net revenues increased 2.8% in the second quarter of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015.”
Nashville Sports Personality George Plaster Exits ‘102.5 The Game’ for University Gig. After a Nashville sports media career that’s spanned 30-plus years, WPRT “102.5 The Game” afternoon drive sports talk radio host George Plaster is leaving the station to take the position of associate athletics director for marketing at Nashville’s Belmont University. The Tennessean reports that Plaster’s friend Scott Corley, athletics director at the school, approached him about the position and Plaster was intrigued with the notion. Over time he became very interested and told the paper, “It’s probably the one scenario that I would’ve considered leaving radio.” Plaster joined Bud Walters’-owned WPRT in 2011 after exiting Cumulus Media’s crosstown WGFX “104.5 The Zone.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of July 2016 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of July 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The June 2016 survey period covered June 16 through July 13. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here
JVC Drops Classic Hits Simulcast in Gainesville; Launches News/Talk Format on WYGC. The classic hits will be heard on JVC Media’s WXJZ, Gainesville “WOW 100.9” and WYGC, licensed to High Springs (northeast of Gainesville) flips to news/talk as “104.9 The Talk of Gainesville.” The company says the station will air from its “downtown Gainesville studios with non-stop local news, weather, and traffic in addition to the legendary ‘Imus in the Morning’ and FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade.” WYGC program director and JVC Media VP Matthew Goldapper says, “‘104.9 The Talk of Gainesville’ will be locally programmed to allow our community to discuss issues important to Gainesville residents.”
The Presidential Race, US Cash Payment to Iran, Deadly London Knife Attacks, Wikileaks-Benghazi Emails, Black Lives Matter Movement, Rio Olympics Troubles, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/3). The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the controversy over the US’ payment of $400 million to Iran the day Americans were released from Iran; the deadly knife attack in London that left several wounded and one woman dead; the claim by Wikileaks’ Julian Assange that emails indicate the U.S. was arming jihadists in Syria via Benghazi; the Black Lives Matter movement; the problems facing Rio De Janeiro as it prepares for the Olympic opening ceremony; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Tom Arnold’s ‘100% Honest. Pretty Much’ Launches from PodcastOne. Hollywood’s Tom Arnold is joining the PodcastOne platform with his new podcast, “Tom Arnold. 100% Honest. Pretty Much.” PodcastOne says the show will cover everything from his career, to life as a husband and father of two, followed by an interview each episode, “as some of the funniest people around bring laughter and something extremely embarrassing about themselves to reveal to the audience.” PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Tom has shared his humor and entertainment with the world for decades, and it’s great to now bring him to the podcast world. It’s the perfect platform to let loose, hang out and have a great time – with all his fans.”
Radio One and Edison Research to Release Race Relations Study Results. Urban media company Radio One says it engaged Edison Research to conduct the study into the “true state of race relations in this country.” The results will be revealed on Friday (8/4 at 11:00 am ET via conference call) and Radio One teases that a key finding is “Black and White Americans are more closely aligned than previously thought on improving race relations in the country and share broad agreement on practical solutions.” Radio One commissioned the study “on the heels of outrage, protests and emotional responses after the shooting of two black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota and the subsequent shooting of five police officers in Dallas (study fielded prior to Baton Rouge police shooting).
Odds & Sods. This report in from the Los Angeles base of The New Normal, home of Tom Leykis’ digitally distributed program: the special wine made just for Leykis and his fans is almost gone. Leykis tells TALKERS magazine that they surpassed 1,000 bottles sold of the 2014 Pedal to the Metal Santa Ynez Valley Syrah. Sales will end August 31 and they will likely have sold all 120 cases by that date. Leykis has another money-making event on the horizon. The show has rented the biggest suite at Dodger Stadium – holds 70 – for an upcoming game and has sold it out. Tickets range in price from $299 – $349. The show grossed $21,000…..DirecTV’s Rich Eisen will report from Canton, Ohio during this week’s Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities. He’ll broadcast live today and tomorrow with guests including: Brett Favre, Kevin Greene, Orlando Pace, Eddie DeBartolo, and Tony Dungy.
Salem Builds Up the Morning Show at KRLA and KTIE in Southern California. Las Vegas-native Heidi Harris has been hosting the morning drive show on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles and sister KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino (positioned as 870 The Answer and 590 The Answer, respectively) since late April. Now, the company brings Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro aboard to build a morning team. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “We’re committed to providing L.A.’s morning commuters with a show that informs, entertains and makes them want to stay in the car once they get into the parking lot at work. We think that Heidi, Brian and Ben create a unique mix for L.A. that will do just that.” Brian Whitman is a 15-year Los Angeles resident who worked at CBS Radio’s KLSX-FM when it was a hot talk outlet. Ben Shapiro is an L.A. native, editor-at-large for Breitbart News and a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. Boyce says, “Creating an on-air radio team is tricky, but these guys all developed chemistry and camaraderie instantly. You would think they had been on the air for years together. Heidi continues to drive the bus on the air, and the guys seem to bring out the best of her many talents.” KRLA/KTIE program director Chuck Tyler says, “When we threw these three people together we honestly weren’t sure what would happen, but we knew that each of them brought a unique and important element to the mix. After hearing a week of shows we realized that something very special was coming out of the speakers.”
George Plaster Returns to Nashville Sports Radio July 23. Nashville sports talk personality George Plaster and co-host Willy Daunic left WGFX, Nashville when Cumulus Media closed on the Citadel purchase back in September of 2011. Since then, the Tennessee sports talker has been off the radio due to a non-compete. Daunic joined Cromwell Group’s crosstown sports talk outlet WPRT in November of 2011. Now, the stage is set for Plaster (pictured here with Cromwell Group market manager Tincy Crouse) to rejoin co-host Daunic on the PM drive show on July 23. A report in The Tennessean says the program is headed for regional syndication as “Sports Night on The Game Radio Network,” although affiliates are not being announced just yet. Station manager Jeff Kolb tells the paper, “George has been the biggest radio sports personality in this market for 20 or so years and carries a huge fan base. We started this station last year by getting ESPN Radio (as the national network affiliate) and the Predators broadcasts, and then we added the Nashville Sounds. George is a staple of Nashville sports talk radio, so adding him is huge.”
Why Not Just Say, “Don’t Listen?” Consultant Holland Cooke cringes at amateur mistakes made by talk hosts bemoaning working during a holiday week. Are you (or your staff) making those same mistakes? Plus, a new study sheds some light on the public’s sentiments about civility in American political discourse (or lack thereof). Read Holland’s entire piece here.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Genesis Communications sports talk WHOO, Orlando adds Central Florida News 13 sports anchor and reporter David Baumann to host the daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am show…..Grantland.com features another of its “oral histories,” this time writers Alex French and Howie Kahn write an oral history of sports talk pioneering station WFAN, New York. Grantland.com is a sports and pop culture website founded by ESPN.com writer Bill Simmons…..In response to the recent weather-related power outages, WTOP, Washington is hosting an “Ask the Utility Execs” live Q&A hosted by WTOP investigative reporter Mark Seagraves today at 10:00 am and will include reps from Pepco, BG&E, SMECO, NOVEC, Potomac Edison and Rappahannock….. WXKS, Boston morning drive talk host Jeff Katz is pictured here speaking at a Greater Boston Tea Party rally at Christopher Columbus Park at Boston Harbor to encourage the repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care law…..Tampa-based Bubba the Love Sponge calls on his Bubba Army for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the beating of a 17-year-old in Land O’ Lakes, Florida on July 2 that sent him to the emergency room with multiple injuries. Bubba is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of those involved…..Talk show host and candidate for Congress in Georgia’s 9th District, Martha Zoller, picked up some momentum in her bid for the seat as she won the Fannin County Tea Party Patriots’ Primary Preference Poll this weekend and earned the endorsement of the American Conservative Union PAC (ACU-PAC).
On a Pilgrimage. KARN-FM, Little Rock program director and PM drive host Dave Elswick (c) is pictured here with his wife Lynda (r) and Cumulus Media Networks talk host and Fox News Channel personality Governor Mike Huckabee (l) during a visit to a production of Huckabee’s FNC program. Elswick tells TALKERS he was in New York City with 50 listeners on his “Dave Elswick Patriot Tour 2012” and the group landed tickets to the taping.
ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic Raises $1 Million for V Foundation. The 12th annual ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic was held at the Industry Hills Golf Club in Industry Hills, California as part of the V Foundation events that happen in conjunction with the 2012 ESPYS which air tonight on ESPN. The golf outing helped raise $1 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Pictured here are (from l-r): ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer, ESPN’s Mike Golic, Olympic Skiing Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn, actor Joe Mantegna and ESPN’s Stuart Scott.
House to Take Up ObamaCare Repeal, Bush Tax Cuts Repeal for Wealthy, 2012 Presidential Race, and Russia-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/10). The U.S. House plans to vote on repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the response to the president’s plan to repeal the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000; the 2012 presidential campaign; and Russia’s sending of warships to aid Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WGN Informal Tour Now Playing on TALKERS TV. While TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was in Chicago last week attending the NAB/RAB Radio Show, he ducked out briefly and headed across the street to the headquarters of the Tribune Company to pay a visit to his friends at WGN. With video camera in hand, and upon extremely short notice, Harrison was graciously given an informal, off-the-cuff, tour of the facility by the station’s program director Bill White. The video of that tour makes its TALKERS TV debut today. Although it offers just a quick and limited slice of the rich world that is WGN – a radio station with a historic pedigree stretching back to the early 1920s – it does capture a provocative glimpse of the heritage station’s unique specialness. Bill White takes us into the locked and almost forgotten — but still intact – record album and 45 rpm singles library, a fascinating reminder of big time radio as it was back in the day. We visit the green room where today’s news/talk radio air guests are greeted, seated and offered beverages…a room that has hosted an endless list of the powerful and famous including heads of state. We watch Leslie Keiling of WGN Traffic Central doing traffic reports and share a few words with her. We talk with Jackie Paulus, WGN director of marketing & digital strategies about the station’s digital sales initiatives. We meet assistant program director Alex Quigley in the WGN radio newsroom — situated against the dynamic backdrop of the main newsroom of the Chicago Tribune, located in the same building. We peek in on the huge main studios of the iconic radio station. A highlight of the visit is chatting with John Williams during a break during his midday show in the WGN street level Showcase Studio and barging in on the staff prep meeting conducted by afternoon drive star Garry Meier. View this must-see video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.
It’s Official: George Plaster Exits WGFX-FM, Nashville. Speculation over whether sports talk host George Plaster would stay with the company he sued for his freedom eight years ago (Cumulus) when it became owner of WGFX-FM is over. Plaster tells The Tennessean he made the decision on Friday, “It’s the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in radio. It was very emotional for me because of the people that I’ve worked with. The people at 104.5 The Zone are as professional as any radio station that I have ever dealt with. These are friends and we’ve had unbelievable success at this station.” The new crosstown sports talk station owned by Cromwell Group – WPRT-FM – is a possible destination for Plaster but he says he’ll take some time to decide what he’s going to do next. There is probably a non-compete that Plaster will have to wait out before going back to radio in Nashville. At WGFX-FM, “The Allstate Sports Zone” continues on with Willy Daunic and Chad Withrow.
Premiere Networks Announces Goldline Exclusive Precious Metals Dealer Sponsor of Sean Hannity Show. Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio show – heard on more than 500 affiliate stations – reaches an extremely dedicated core group of conservative talk radio listeners. That target demo must be exactly what Goldline International Inc. is looking for as it announces it is the exclusive precious metals sponsor of the Sean Hannity show. Goldline CEO Scott Carter states, “Sean Hannity clearly represents the pinnacle of talk radio with millions of loyal listeners following Sean’s unique take on politics, culture and current events. Goldline is thrilled to be a sponsor of the Sean Hannity show and help Americans across the country learn more about diversifying with precious metals.” Speaking about the exclusive advertising deal, Sean Hannity says, “I am looking forward to working closely with a gold company that has such a stellar reputation in the industry. For those who are thinking about investing in gold, the place I highly recommend is Goldline.”
KIRO, Seattle Extends Contracts of Kevin Calabro and Jim Moore. Bonneville’s 710 ESPN Seattle (KIRO) adds an hour to the Kevin Calabro show – now airing from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily – and gives contract extensions to host Kevin Calabro and co-host Jim Moore. Station GM Dave Pridemore notes the program is currently the #1-rated show in the Men 25-54 demo and says, “We are thrilled to have Kevin and Jim continue to anchor our afternoon drive into the future. Kevin’s connection to the Seattle sports audience, dedication to the craft and loyalty make him a true professional and advocate for this entire region.”
WTKK-FM, Boston Adds Pollster Scott Rasmussen for Weekly AM Drive Appearance. Rasmussen is the founder of Rasmussen Reports – the public opinion polling firm – and a frequent guest on cable news/talk TV shows as well as a talk show host in his own right. Now, Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston announces Rasmussen will make a weekly appearance on its AM drive show with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan every Wednesday at 7:45. Braude says, “Scott Rasmussen is as good as they come, his insight on topics that Bostonians and New Englanders care about is unmatchable.” Eagan notes, “He knows what Americans are thinking about, everything from politics to laundry detergent.”
Pop Culture AM Drive Hosts Chaz and AJ Simulcast in New Haven and Norwalk, Connecticut. Cox Media Group gives talk-intensive rock WPLR, New Haven morning drive hosts Chaz and AJ another market as the duo’s program begins a simulcast on the company’s classic rock WFOX, Norwalk, Connecticut. The show is described as a mix of humor, politics and water cooler talk. Keith Dakin, who programs both stations, says, “This move just makes sense. I am extremely excited to extend the reach of Chaz and AJ to the residents of Fairfield County who have never been able to hear the show. These guys really deliver for Connecticut and I expect big things from them on WFOX.”
Marty Basch Joins CBS Radio Las Vegas as VP/Director of Sales. Basch has worked for CBS Radio in the recent past. He left two years ago to take the EVP/GM position with Kemp Broadcasting. Now he returns to the company as vice president and director of sales for the six-station cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.
Obama Deficit Reduction Plan, Palestinian-U.N. Issue, European Economic Jitters and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19). President Obama’s plan to cut the nation’s deficit, the Palestinian plea to the U.N. for statehood, continued jitters in Europe over Greek debt and the GOP contenders for president in 2012 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
WBZ, Boston Celebrates 90 Years on the Air Today. Yes, the building with its twin radio towers in the photo at the top of this page is the site of the original broadcast studios but you might be surprised to know it’s not in the Boston area. The CBS Radio station’s history as the first “commercial license” radio station in the country began 80 miles west in Springfield, Massachusetts at the old Westinghouse plant. Many of the nation’s oldest radio stations moved around the dial and WBZ was no exception. It broadcast at 830 on the dial when it first went on the air from this location on September 19, 1921. Read more about WBZ’s history here.
Cumulus Gives WMAL, Washington an FM Boost Today. The victim is classic rock WVRX-FM at 105.9 as WMAL will simulcast beginning at 12:00 noon today in time for Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh to be heard in the Nation’s Capital on FM. WMAL clearly has its sights set on some of the dollars crosstown competitor WTOP has been raking in on the FM band. WMAL president and general manager Jeff Boden states, “By expanding our successful brand to the FM dial, we will be a viable listening and advertising option for many more people in the Washington, DC area. There are many potential listeners who never listen on AM, and we are now making programs of wide interest available to the largest possible audience.”
George Plaster’s Status in Nashville Unknown. Nashville sports talk host George Plaster was off the air at WGFX-FM on Friday and he tells the Tennessean, “There’s been a lot of rumors about where we’re going to end up. At this point no decision has been made. I want to do not only what’s good for my group, but I want to end up doing something good for our listeners.” WGFX-FM was a Citadel station until the closing of the merger between Cumulus and Citadel. Eight years prior, Plaster sued Cumulus to get away from that company and join Citadel’s WGFX-FM. If there’s bad blood between the two parties, the question is will they be able to get over it and work together again? Plaster’s show rakes in a reported $2 million annually for WGFX. The complicating factor is the new crosstown FM sports talk station WPRT-FM “The Game,” operated by the Cromwell Group, which would no doubt love to bring Plaster over to get its new format off the ground with a popular, money-making talent. Expect some decisions to be made soon.
Bill Cunningham Debuts on Daytime TV Today. WLW, Cincinnati and Premiere Networks talk show host Bill Cunningham’s nationally syndicated eponymous TV show debuts today. Cunningham tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that this is a completely different program than his radio show. Cunningham has been taping shows since late July and the content is very much the stuff of daytime TV talk shows – dysfunctional families, pot parties and other such fare. Cunningham says they’ve remade his image with spray-on tans and expensive suits but producers of the program say they want his image as a father, family man and the guy-next-door to shine through. Cunningham’s program debuts on 22 stations across the country, including in his home town of Cincinnati.
WTMM-FM, Albany Brings Bruce Jacobs in for PM Drive. Sports talk and talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs is named the new PM drive host at Townsquare Media’s Albany/Schenectady FM sports talk outlet 104.5 The Team. Jacobs has worked most recently in the Phoenix market. Jacobs begins his new program Tuesday, September 20. The Long Island native says, “After 20 years of being away, it’s so great to be home again. It’s great to be back with the most passionate, hardcore fans in the world.”
John Olsen Named PD at Sports WZZN-FM, Birmingham. Cox Media Group announces John Olsen is the program director at its new FM sports talk outlet Sports Radio 97.7 The Zone. Olsen has been with Cox since 2001 in various capacities. He says, “Thanks to Ben Reed, David DuBose, Ray Nelson and Justin Case for their vision to bring 97.3 The Zone to the air. We have a terrific, unique station that will give sports fans a true sports station.” Also at the CMG in Birmingham, programmer Justin Case is named operations manager for the cluster.
Eleanor Mondale Dies at 51. Eleanor Mondale, daughter of former vice president Walter Mondale and former WCCO, Minneapolis talk show host, passed away on Saturday at age 51 after her second bout with brain cancer. Mondale left her show on WCCO in March of 2009 after the brain cancer returned a second time. She had surgery later that year to remove the tumor and it was reported at the time that the surgery was successful. Mondale began her broadcasting career in 1989 as the entertainment reporter for WCCO-TV, Minneapolis. She went on to network television gigs but returned to Minnesota and co-hosted a radio talk show on WCCO with Susie Jones in 2006.
KYW, Philadelphia’s Jack O’Rourke Passes Away at 80. Shortly after covering the Phillies-Cardinals game Friday night, the KYW sports reporter collapsed and passed away. O’Rourke began his career with KYW in 1966. He worked with NBC Radio in New York for more than 20 years before returning to KYW.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean is added to the program schedule at Cox Media Group’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is now heard on WWNZ, Bangor…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory is picked up by CBS Radio’s new news/talk outlet WXYT for the 1:00 am to 5:00 am timeslot…..The talk-intensive, Premiere Networks-syndicated Elvis Duran morning show adds new affiliate WMXZ-FM, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida…..The “Health Insurance Advocate” show with Cary Hall joins the lineup at KBMV-FM, West Plains, Missouri…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds KFLO-FM, Shreveport, Louisiana; KWKC, Abilene, Texas; KBMV-FM, West Pains, Missouri; and WBFD, Bedford, Pennsylvania…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose is cleared on KRDO-AM/FM, Colorado Springs.