Tag: "WGN"

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

| June 10, 2020

iHeartMedia Extends Furloughs for 90 Days. As first reported by Billboard, iHeartMedia announces to staffers that it is extending the companywide furloughs for another three months due to the coronavirus pandemic that has “had a significant impact on advertising revenue.” The company says it will be some time before radio station staffing levels will return to full status. This extended furlough for certain staffers will now last through September.

Pennsylvania Attorney Targets Townsquare Media with Investigation. Bensalem, Pennsylvania attorney Howard G. Smith announces an investigation “on behalf of Townsquare Media, Inc. investors concerning the Company and its officers’ possible violations of federal securities laws” in which he’s seeking qualified clients. This comes a day after the company filed a Form 8-K with the Securities Exchange Commission in which it disclosed that it had discovered an error in projected cash flows that were utilized in its valuation model. As a result, the company is reporting an impairment charge of approximately $39.4 million for its licenses and an impairment charge of approximately $69.0 million for its goodwill. It reported that certain financial statements for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 should no longer be relied upon and would be restated due to the error. Townsquare says it is “reassessing its previous conclusions regarding the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. Based on this assessment, the Company expects to report material weaknesses in the Company’s internal controls and therefore conclude that internal controls over financial reporting and disclosure controls are not effective.”  Smith says in a press release that “on this news, the Company’s share price fell $1.20, or nearly 19%, to close at $5.28 per share on June 9, 2020, thereby injuring investors.”

KXL, Portland Promotes Three, Adds On-Air Personality. At Alpha Media’s Portland news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” spoken word content director Bruce Collins announces the promotion of three news team members and the addition of another. Current morning and afternoon drive news and traffic reporter Brett Reckamp moves to the co-anchor chair on the station’s “Portland’s Morning News” program. He’s joined by co-anchor Veronica Carter. Previously, she’s served as West Coast regional news director for iHeartMedia and news anchor/reporter for Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM in Chicago. KXL assistant news director Jim Ferretti is promoted to news director and Jeremy Scott is promoted to full-time morning and afternoon drive traffic reporter. Collins says, “It’s awesome to have such a strong staff and be able to promote from within. With the addition of Veronica Carter and the promotion of key personnel, it puts KXL in an extremely strong position.”

WGN-AM, Chicago Adds ‘Sunday Standards with John Williams’ to Weekends. Chicago heritage news/talker WGN-AM adds a second music program to its weekend programming schedule beginning June 21 with the launch of “Sunday Standards with John Williams.” The Nexstar Media Group station says that following the success of “The Sinatra Hours with Dave Plier,” which ranked #2 with adults 25-54, it’s adding the new program hosted by midday talk personality and Great American Songbook aficionado John Williams to air from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The show will feature a wide range of artists, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Nat King Cole, and Burt Bacharach, along with more modern artists like Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow and Amy Winehouse covering those songs. Williams comments, “Some of the hits we play go back 85 years, others go back 15 years. The music is really nice to listen to, and that’s the idea. I think there’s something really big about WGN Radio, a 50,000-watt AM station, energizing this music all over again – and getting people something they need right now.” Left out of the new Sunday program schedule is “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” that’s been airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm weekly. WGN general manager Mary Boyle says, “The success of ‘The Sinatra Hours’ has proven there is an appetite for nostalgia. This music is hard to find, and certainly not on free, over-the-air radio. John Williams has a passion for this kind of music, so it’s a natural fit.”

Kevin Wall Takes Over Afternoons on KMZQ, Las Vegas. Talk show host Kevin Wall is joining Kemp Broadcasting’s KMZQ, Las Vegas to handle the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. The station says that “together with morning drive host Heidi Harris, the addition of ‘Live and Local with Kevin Wall’ gives Las Vegas Valley radio listeners more local talk than any other Vegas radio station.” Wall – who has served with such talk outlets as KFI, Los Angeles and KSFO, San Francisco – was most recently hosting a talk show on Royce International Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas. Prior to that he was the afternoon personality on Entercom’s crosstown KXNT. Kemp EVP Marty Basch says, “Now more than ever with what’s happening in our country and locally, KMZQ will have Las Vegas’ only live and local morning show with Heidi Harris, and now afternoons with Kevin Wall. It’s Las Vegas radio’s ‘Dream Team,’”

Bob Adams Exits Saga’s Portland Station Group. According to a story in the Portland Press Herald, Bob Adams has exited his general manager role at the Portland cluster of Saga Communications stations that includes news/talk WGAN-AM and seven music brands. The paper says that a memo sent to station staffers from SVP of operations Chris Forgy and Saga president and CEO Ed Christian indicated the reason for Adams’ departure was the need for a “more defined growth pattern” and that “a change was necessary.” The company expects to name a new general manager within the next few days. Adams’ exit comes after a number of high-profile air talent were recently laid off, including WGAN-AM talk host Ken Altshuler and music programmer and jock Randi Kirshbaum.

Round Two of May PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and he reports that a number of all-news and news/talk stations that saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares go up in April as a result of coverage of the coronavirus pandemic are starting to see those numbers fall. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington dropped seven-tenths to a 9.3 share but stays in the #1 position in the market. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington adds three-tenths and climbs into the #2 spot. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston gives up a half share to finish May at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank. Sister all-news WBZ-AM also forfeits a half share for a 5.9 share finish and the #4 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle bucks the trend, adding three-tenths to wrap the May survey with a 7.2 share and the #1 rank. Meanwhile, Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit drops seven-tenths to a 5.7 share and falls into the #2 rank in the Motor City. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that the status of ESPN Radio personality Trey Wingo is up in the air as the sports media giant mulls its options. He currently co-hosts the morning drive show with Mike Golic. Marchand says ESPN is “reshaping its radio and NFL presentations” and with Wingo’s contract up, it’s not clear what his status with ESPN is. He says the company would like Keyshawn Johnson – who’s currently heard on O&O KSPN, Los Angeles – and Max Kellerman on its national radio platform. Johnson’s contract is up at the end of the summer…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco announces it raised more than $100,000 for Bay Area hunger relief partnering with Giving in Motion for last week’s fund drive. The money raised will provide more than 6,500 family meals, plus 1,300 bags of school supplies and household essentials to Bay Area residents impacted by COVID-19. The KNBR staff will deliver the meals to people in need at specific locations in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Walnut Creek…..Cox Media Group Tulsa announces that it has helped its community partners raise more than $2 million in the first half of 2020. The cluster – including news/talk KRMG-FM, four music brands and three TV signals – says that figure does not include non-monetary fundraising efforts it has pushed through its channels. The cluster partnered with the Community Food Bank to collect more than 774 pounds of food for its annual Spread the Love campaign, collected 220 pints of blood through a drive with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and diverted more than 93 tons of recyclable items from the dump through the inaugural Big Spring Clean. CMG Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther says, “During times of great uncertainty, like now, people rely more than ever on the support of community partners to help them get through. This is why we have not only upheld our commitments to our current partners but have gone a step further and added a number of new events to try and help our partners jump-start donations to serve more people who are now reliant upon them.”

George Floyd Funeral/Protests, Police Reform, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race, Georgia Election Problems, Russia Probe Review, Financial Markets Activity, MLB Negotiations/NFL Racism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/9). The funeral of Minneapolis police violence victim George Floyd and the ongoing protests taking place across the country; the calls for the reforming and de-funding of police departments; the rising and falling of confirmed COVID-19 cases as states continue the re-opening process; the November presidential election; the troubles Georgia faced holding efficient voting on Tuesday; the review of the Russia probe being led by John Durham; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. unrest; and the negotiations between the MLB’s players and the league and the state of racism in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle classic hits outlet KJR-FM “95.7 The Jet” announces the debut of its new morning show, “95.7 The Jet Mornings with Jodi & Bender.” The iHeartMedia station notes that Bender previously served as a morning host on its KBKS “106.1 KISS FM” where he “became one of the most impactful on-air personalities in the Seattle region.” Jodi has served with KJR-FM since 2011. iHeartMedia Seattle market president Robert Dove says, “Putting Jodi and Bender together gives ‘95.7 The Jet’ a dynamic morning show that will be entertaining and provide civic values to our great city of Seattle. Whether it’s Seafair or Seattle Children’s Hospital, Jodi, Bender, and KJR will be there to shine a light on the good things happening in the Emerald City.”…..iHeartMedia announces that Mark Manuel is the new program director for classic rock KCQQ, Quad Cities. He’s been serving the station as APD and webmaster. He says, “I’m really grateful for the opportunity. After chasing a morning host dream for two decades, I found that I really enjoyed the programming aspect of radio for the past five years. I especially want to thank iHeartMedia for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I’m happy to continue to be part of the team for years to come.”

Thursday, November 21, 2019

| November 21, 2019

Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder Out in New WGN, Chicago Program Schedule. Two months after new management ousted station manager Todd Manley from his role at WGN, Chicago and hinted more changes were on the horizon, the Nexstar-owned news/talk outlet announces its new programming lineup and late morning duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder are the odd couple out.  After the close of the Tribune-Nexstar deal, Sean Compton became executive vice president and director of news and operations Mary Sandberg Boyle was named interim programming manager.  Yesterday (11/20), Boyle announced the changes via internal email.  Among the changes effective December 2 are: Steve Cochran’s morning show starts an hour earlier, airing from 5:00 am to 9:00 am; John Williams moves from his current 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Ji Suk Yi takes over hosting the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm “Wintrust Business Lunch” show; and Anna Davlantes leaves the co-host role on the afternoon drive Roe Conn program to host her own 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm talk show.  Conn remains in afternoons, followed by Justin Kaufmann from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, followed by Nick Digilio from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am.  WGN will simulcast the “WGN-TV Early Morning News” from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.  Read Chicago media writer Robert Feder’s coverage here.

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Rich Zeoli Interviews President Trump. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Rich Zeoli interviewing President Trump in the Oval Office as part of Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the United States Mexico Canada trade deal.  The president also talked about the 2020 election and the impeachment hearings.  Zeoli says, “The president was incredibly gracious with his time and said how much he loves talk radio.”  Photo: Andrea Hanks

John Fredericks Show Interviews VP Mike Pence. At Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the USMCA treaty, Virginia talk station owner and statewide talk radio personality John Fredericks (right) posed for a photo with Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Fredericks’ wife, Anne (center), who serves as CFO of the John Fredericks Network.

Cumulus Inks ‘The Ticket’ Morning Show ‘The Musers’ to Multiyear Extension. Dallas sports talkers George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith – collectively known as “The Musers” – sign contract extensions to continue hosting the morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk KCTK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket.”  The Cumulus Dallas-Houston regional vice president Dan Bennett says, “For 25 years, the Morning Musers’ George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith have performed at a market dominant level and we are excited that will continue for many more years in Dallas!”  The Musers comment, “We are very pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Cumulus and the wonderful leadership of the Dallas/Fort Worth market.  This company has made us feel appreciated and we are extremely thankful for their support of such a special station.  ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas/Fort Worth is our home and the bond that we have with our listeners is something we will cherish for as long as we breathe.”

Salem Covers A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Premiere. Above is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) interviewing director Marielle Heller (right) at last night’s premiere of the SONY Pictures film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  The film stars Tom Hanks as television icon Fred Rogers.  The premiere took place in Pittsburgh where the “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” TV show was produced at WQED-TV.

Skyview Networks Sponsors Panels at MLB Rightsholders Conference. The photo above shows the participants in this year’s MLB Audio Rightsholders Conference in Las Vegas.  More than 20 teams and organizations participated in panels covering technology, audio sales strategies, and the future of emerging non-terrestrial mediums.  Digital content captured the main focus of the conversations as franchises shared strategies for monetizing this evolving platform.  Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “Skyview Networks is proud to return as the title sponsor of this conference, which hosts an innovative group of baseball and broadcast executives as they discuss the critical role radio and digital audio play in fan engagement.  We look forward to developing additional technology to serve our partners in this evolving audio space.”  Additional panel topics included maximizing ad sales with an emphasis on innovative features and creating awareness for franchises’ ancillary digital content, especially concerning podcasts.  As the digital listenership rapidly increases, the franchises are hyper-focused on monetizing the platform.

TALKERS News Notes. The NM Political Report says that KIVA-AM/K229CL, Albuquerque owner Eddy Aragon is considering running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tom Udall, who is not running for re-election.  Aragon – a staunch conservative – hosts the afternoon show on the station branded, “the Rock of Talk.”  He tells NM Political Report this is something he’s only considering at this point. “You have to imagine the tremendous sacrifice that I have to consider.  Being off [the air] during the year Donald Trump is running in 2020, that’s a sacrifice to my radio station.”…..KIDO, Boise morning drive talk host Kevin Miller is pictured below talking to KTVB-TV, Boise news about his annual Miller’s Mission Turkey Drive to help provide the hungry and homeless in Boise with a warm dinner for the holidays.  The goal is to collect 3,000 turkeys for the Boise Rescue Mission Ministries.  Each year Miller dons his turkey suit and broadcasts live from a local Walmart parking lot to collect turkeys and cash donations.

Impeachment Testimony, 2020 Presidential Race/Atlanta Debate, Epstein Case/Prince Andrew Troubles, U.S.-China Trade Talks/Hong Kong Human Rights Act, and Mexicans Sue Walmart Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20). Wednesday’s impeachment hearing with testimony from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Wednesday’s Atlanta debates; the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s death and the aftermath of Prince Andrew’s BBC interview; U.S. trade talks with China and the U.S. House’s Hong Kong Human Rights Act; and Mexicans’ suit against Walmart over the mass shooting in El Paso 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 pro Robyn Simone exits Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC, Columbia, South Carolina “Kiss 103.1” where she’d been serving as program director for the past year.  She says, “Working at Cumulus Media in Columbia was a challenge, but I gained a lot of knowledge in my short time there.  As the program director/air talent for ‘Kiss 103.1,’ I’m a stronger and more knowledgeable PD because the experience.  I would like to thank [VP programming operations] John Dimick and VP/urban programming Kenny Smoov for the opportunity and their commitment to set new standards for urban radio.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

| October 29, 2019

Round One of October PPM Ratings Released.  The first of four rounds of October 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex (New Jersey).  The October 2019 rating period covered September 12 to October 9.  Some positive (6+) ratings gains of note include: Entercom’s WFAN, New York (+0.6) re-enters the market’s top 10 with a 3.8 share; Nexstar’s WGN, Chicago (+0.3) continues to ascend to #9 in the market with a 3.5 share; Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas marks six consecutive surveys without a dip and scores a 4.1 share; iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston has a another positive survey, now ranking #11 in the market with a 3.9 share; Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta earns a fourth consecutive positive survey (+0.6) and is #1 in the market with an 8.2 share; and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia rises almost a full share from September to a 7.5 share.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, as he does every month, presents his “Takeaways” from the performances of each market’s spoken-word and music stations. See his “Takeaways” from this first round here.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Bill O’Reilly Packs House at Boston Event. Pictured above at center is Key Networks syndicated radio personality and best-selling author Bill O’Reilly at last Saturday’s appearance in suburban Boston.  iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO airs the daily “The O’Reilly Update” program and hosted the “An Afternoon with Bill O’Reilly” event that drew a sellout crowd during which O’Reilly offered his “no spin” take on news, politics, the 2020 election, his experience being back on radio, and more.  He also talked about his latest book, The United States of Trump (2019, Henry Holt & Company).  Pictured with O’Reilly are WRKO talk show hosts Doug “VB” Goudie (left) and Jeff Kuhner (right).  Photo: Mario Jarjour.

TALKERS News Notes. With the release of the latest October 2019 PPM ratings from Nielsen Audio, the sports talk radio battle in New York between Entercom’s WFAN and ESPN’s WEPN is once again under scrutiny by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.  He reports that in afternoon drive, WEPN’s Michael Kay grabbed a 7.4 share to take the #1 spot in that daypart while WFAN’s Mike Francesa had a 5.6 share – or a 6.0 share if his streaming numbers are included – to finish third or second, respectively…..Salem Media Group’s KNUS, Denver is presenting a live event titled, “Countdown 2020: War for America’s Soul,” at University of Colorado South Denver tonight (10/29).  It features Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager and author, FOX News contributor, and TOWNHALL columnist Michelle Malkin discussing such topics as “the march toward socialism,” “Iran waging war,” “restricted free speech and religious rights,” and “racial tensions.”…..Good Karma Brands fires up a new subscription service for content from its Wisconsin sports talk stations called, “Wisconsin On Demand.”  For $5 per month or $50 per year, subscribers get content on demand from WTLX-FM, Madison “ESPN Madison” and WKTI-FM and WAUK-AM, Milwaukee “ESPN Milwaukee” that includes limited commercials…..Condolences to the family and friends of former, longtime Syracuse traffic reporter Anthony Bombardo, Jr., who passed away on October 27 at the age of 78.  During his career, Bombardo worked as an aerial traffic reporter on WHEN, Syracuse as Captain Scott King.  Later, he provided traffic reports to numerous Central New York stations using his given name.  He retired in 2010.

Robin Fitzgerald to Serve as Chief Judge for 2020 Radio Mercury Awards. The Radio Mercury Awards announces that BBDO Atlanta chief creative officer Robin Fitzgerald will serve as the 2020 Chief Judge for the 29th annual Radio Mercury Awards.  Fitzgerald has been named one of Business Insider’s “Most Creative People in Social Media Marketing” and “Most Creative Women in Advertising.”  She has participated on juries for the Radio Mercury Awards, D&AD, One Show, Clios, Art Director’s Club and New York Festivals.  She says, “I’ve always loved radio. To me, it’s one of the most challenging platforms for creatives.  The Radio Mercury Awards are a champion of great ideas delivered in stereo.  It’s a pretty cool gig to be leading the charge on curating the best of the best for 2020.”

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal, Death of Baghdadi, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, 2020 Presidential Race, Rep. Hill Scandal, and Trump Booed at World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related allegations of Trump’s quid pro quo offer to Ukraine and Hunter and Joe Biden’s energy dealings there; the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi; the California wildfires that threaten some 25 million and the PG&E power blackouts; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the sex scandal that forced U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) to resign from the House; and President Trump being booed at the World Series 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 pro Nick Rivers joins Hubbard Radio’s West Palm Beach station group to serve as APD and music director for country WIRK and classic hits WEAT.  He is also hosting afternoon drive on WIRK.  He was most recently in the production and imaging department at Dick Broadcasting’s Greensboro, North Carolina station group.  Hubbard West Palm Beach OM and brand/content director Bruce Logan says, “We had a lot of fantastic candidates to join Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach, but Nick’s enthusiasm and the chemistry he had with the team truly set him apart from the others.  We are building something special at WIRK and Nick is another outstanding puzzle piece.”…..In Atlanta, Radio One promotes Derek Harper to operations manager for the cluster, taking over for Hurricane Dave Smith, who exited in August.  Harper has been serving as program director for urban AC WAMJ “Majic 107.5” and Gospel WPZE “Praise 97.5.”  He’ll continue to program WAMJ and serve as Radio One and Reach Media’s captain for the inspiration format…..Entercom’s KROQ, Los Angeles announces the lineup for the RADIO.COM event, “KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas 2019” on December 7 at the Honda Center in Orange County.  The opening night of the two-day event will feature performances by: Cage The Elephant, Beck, Jimmy Eat World, Young the Giant, Angels & Airwaves, Cold War Kids, The Head and the Heart, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and DJ Jeremiah Red…..Non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” begins a search for a new executive director as Glenn Kleiman announces he’ll exit the position next spring.  Station board president Juli Kaufmann says, “The search will focus on seeking the next leader to continue our forward momentum of inspiring positive change in the community.  Through creative content and programming, Radio Milwaukee will continue to raise the social awareness and engagement of listeners while expanding our audience.”  Kleiman became executive director in April 2016 after previously serving as a station consultant.  He says, “I love this job, our team, and our mission.  I’m proud of the work we do, and I’ll miss leading our efforts.  But it’s time for me to slow down a bit.  I’m not retiring, just turning it down a notch.  I do hope to stay involved with ‘Radio Milwaukee’ in some capacity.”…..Christian broadcaster Brighter Media Group announces the addition of Molly Chambers to afternoons on Christian contemporary WRBS, Baltimore “SHINE-FM,” alongside longtime host Jack Larkin.  Program director John Lawhon says, “It’s amazing to see what God is doing with SHINE-FM.  Molly brings a new and fresh voice to the SHINE-FM team.  She represents a commitment to investing in the next generation of talent.  She is a rock star!”

Monday, July 29, 2019

| July 29, 2019

Dave Ramsey Moves into New HQ and Studios. Pictured above in his brand-new studio is nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey.  The studio is inside the newly constructed Ramsey Solutions headquarters just outside of Nashville.  The company says the studio is the focal point of the six-story headquarters – phase one of an ambitious plan that includes 600,000 square feet of office space and a 50,000 square foot conference center.  Ramsey Media executive vice president Brian Mayfield, “We’re extremely excited for people to visit our new studio.  Every year, we welcome thousands of people to watch the show and do their debt free screams.  Our new space is going to take that listener experience to a whole new level.”  Ramsey’s radio show is in its 27th year. Ramsey Media says the show is the fifth most-downloaded podcast on all major platforms, including: Apple, Google, Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio.  It has more than one million YouTube subscribers and is also featured on the SiriusXM platform.  “The Dave Ramsey Show” is the cornerstone program of the Ramsey Network that also includes: “The Ken Coleman Show,” “The Rachel Cruze Show,” “The Chris Hogan Show,” “The Anthony O’Neal Show,” “Business Boutique” and “EntreLeadership.”  Dave Ramsey says of the more than 8,000 listeners who did their “debt-free screams” either by phone or in-person and those who paid off $490 million dollars, “As I walked through our old building, I thought about all those families – those heroes who changed their behavior and learned how to win with money.  They’re the reason we do what we do. They’re the reason we exist.”  Ramsey Solutions was voted among Nashville’s best places to work 11 times.  It employs nearly 900 team members.  The new campus will see that number grow to more than 1,000 within a year.

Ji Suk Yi Joins WGN’s Steve Cochran Show As Contributor. Journalist and Chicago media figure Ji Suk Yi is joining WGN, Chicago’s “Steve Cochran Show” as a contributor, starting August 5.  She writes, “The Grid: Neighborhood Eats,” a weekly Chicago Sun-Times restaurant column and video series that highlights new and old-school favorites.   WGN says that feature will also be a recurring segment on the Wednesday edition of the morning drive radio show.  Yi emigrated from South Korea as a child and earned her law degree at the University of North Carolina before moving to Chicago to pursue a career in journalism.  Prior to the Sun-Times, she was a co-host and contributor on WLS-TV’s “Windy City Live” for seven seasons.  She says, “I’m excited to take part and enhance a fun and clever daily conversation at a legacy station that jump starts the day in a meaningful way for listeners…hearing directly from them and connecting is the best part!” WGN station manager and vice president of content Todd Manley adds, “Ji has become one of Chicago’s most compelling cultural storytellers.  Her fresh voice adds a whole new dimension to Steve’s show.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk radio.  It’s not unusual for the news/talk format to experience a ratings dip during the summer months and that’s the case this year as 48% of stations in our panel see their weekly AQH share decrease.  Still, 32% of stations went up in June, led by Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte (+1.2).  Comparing June of 2018 to this year, 46% of news/talk stations were down and 42% were up.  Big gainers were Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas (+2.0); and Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford (+1.7) and WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte (+1.6).  Only one news/talk station ranked #1 (6+) in its market in June – Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” in the Middlesex market.  However, six news/talk stations ranked #2 in their respective markets.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: Social Media Headlines That Drive Traffic.  Consultant Holland Cooke writes in today’s Monday Memo about effective use of language for driving traffic via social media.  Cooke says there are certain types of words that catch people’s attention in a positive way and there are words and phrases that turn people off.  Read his column here.

Missouri Broadcasters Association Institute Begins Today. Today is the first day of the third annual Missouri Broadcasters Association Radio Talent Institute at Northwest Missouri State University.  Students taking part in the 10-day program will learn from more than 30 broadcasters working in the industry for companies including: Zimmer Radio, Entercom, Mid-West Family Broadcasting, Alpha Media, Eagle Communications, Hubbard Radio, Cumulus Media, Bott Radio Network, and iHeartMedia.  Missouri Broadcasters Association president Mark Gordon says, “We are pleased to bring this program, taught by industry professionals, to Missouri, which will help fill job openings at broadcast stations with quality employees who have a true understanding of how fun and rewarding a career in our industry can be.”  The MBA Radio Talent Institute is the final institute of the National Radio Talent System this summer.

TALKERS News Notes. Business executive and Forbes Coaches Council member Mitch Russo wrote a column published in Forbes that promotes the value of radio advertising for small businesses.  The column – How Small-Business Owners Can Find Success on the Radio – details Russo’s past successes with radio advertising.  Check it out here…..FOX Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb is going on the road for the network’s annual NFLTraining Camp Tour.  Today (7/29), “The Doug Gottlieb Show” is broadcasting from the Los Angeles Rams training camp at UC Irvine, followed by the Los Angeles Chargers training camp at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, California on August 6.  Finally, he’ll visit the Dallas Cowboys training camp at River Ridge Playing Fields in Oxnard, California on August 13.….The founders of the nationally syndicated morning radio show “Ace & TJ,” along with VoiceHunter.com owner Adam Goodman are launching a new service called Podcast Access.  The service will debut this fall and is described as a “marketing tool designed to provide corporate entities launching branded content with hosts and co-hosts.” Podcast Access says its performers “will ensure the quality of the podcast reflects the quality of the brand.” To achieve this, they are looking for performers with a minimum of 10 years of unique audio creation experience (radio hosts, podcast hosts, TV personalities, etc.) to add to their talent roster.  Ace says, “We’ve been blessed throughout our careers to have worked with and befriended the most talented people in the business.  We are excited to be able to use this amazing new platform to help brands achieve their marketing objectives with the most professional podcasts featuring the very best, media savvy hosts and co-hosts available.”…..Edison Research is being honored by Content Marketing Institute with a 2019 Content Marketing Award for Best Use of Original Research in Content Marketing for The Infinite Dial 2018.  Edison Research president Larry Rosin says, “I’m beyond proud that the work of the team at Edison has been honored with this award.  The Infinite Dial has been around long enough to track the birth and growth of audio, mobile phone usage, widespread internet connectivity, smart audio, and most recently, podcasts, among Americans and now throughout the world.  We appreciate that Content Marketing Institute is recognizing the effort that goes into marketing such research.”…..WIP, Philadelphia overnight host Big Daddy Graham is recuperating from spinal surgery after suffering spinal cord trauma last week.  Graham’s daughter Ava appeared on WIP’s Angelo Cataldi show last Friday to update fans on her dad’s condition.  She told them doctors hope Graham will walk again but was paralyzed from the waist down after the surgery.

Trump’s Baltimore Attacks, 2020 Presidential Race, California Festival Shooting, Ratcliffe Nominated for Intelligence Post, Iran Tensions, and Hong Kong Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The spat between President Trump and Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings over the president’s criticism of the city of Baltimore; the Democrats running for president in 2020 and this week’s debates in Detroit; a gunman kills three and wounds many more at a festival in Gilroy, California; President Trump’s nomination of John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence; the tensions in the Persian Gulf over Iran’s military posturing; and the violent protests in Hong Kong over China’s increased authority were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Diego, Entercom signs contract extensions with country KSON morning drive duo John Flint and Tammy Lee.  Entercom San Diego SVP and market manager Bob Bolinger says, “John and Tammy are one of America’s premiere morning show personalities and are delivering exceptional daily programming with an unmatched country flair.  We are excited that we will have them here for years to come.”  John Flint and Tammy Lee have co-hosted the morning drive show on KSON since 2011 and have been a team for 19 years. They began working together in 2000 at WWQM-FM in Madison, Wisconsin.  They served at WMAD-FM in Madison where they were on the air from 2006 to 2011…..Beasley Media Group classic rock WMGK-FM announces midday personality Debbi Calton is officially retiring from the station on December 6.  Calton has been the star of the midday show for the past 26 years.  She worked for 10 years at former crosstown rock WYSP-FM (now sports talk WIP-FM) before joining WMGK in 1993.  She recalls a run-in with management over her pay at a station at which she worked early in her career.  “I was told at that time that I was just a little girl who, until they taught me, didn’t know anything and that I would never work in radio again.  I am extremely grateful for what I learned there (and at all the radio stations I’ve worked at since), but I also deserved equal pay.  I’m glad I held my ground at that time.  Here I am all these years later, still working in radio…a profession that I love!”

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

| June 18, 2019

WGN-AM, Chicago and Patti Vasquez Go Separate Ways.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story of WGN’s decision to part ways with late-night talk show host Patti Vasquez after a five-year run.  Feder notes that Vasquez had been suspended several times during her stint with the station for various infractions of the rules but apparently the accidental airing of the f-word earlier this month proved to be the last straw. In a memo to the staff, WGN station manager and vice president of content Todd Manley wrote, “Patti Vasquez is no longer working with WGN Radio. Her departure is a private matter and will remain that way.  We are grateful to her for her service to WGN Radio, and wish her the best.”  The station will rotate various WGN personalities in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daypart for now.  In a separate matter, Vasquez has announced she will seek the Illinois 10th District State Senate seat.

Michael Savage’s Trump Criticisms Focal Point of NYTimes Piece. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Michael Savage is the subject of a piece in The New York Times that looks into Savage’s criticism of President Trump – such as his failure to secure a border wall deal and the ballooning federal budget deficit – and how Savage’s audience is reacting to that criticism. As the story indicates, Savage still supports Trump and will vote for him in 2020, but Savage has never been one to avoid criticism of any politician if he believes it’s deserved.  What’s new is that Trump’s base appears to want none of that.  The Westwood One personality tells Times writer Jeremy W. Peters, “I don’t think they care very much about issues.  They’ll vote for him no matter what because he’s not ‘them.’  I think it’s come down to ‘them’ or ‘us.’”  Read the story here.

Contrite Craig Carton Heads Off to Prison. Sports talk radio personality Craig Carton began his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for fraud yesterday (6/17).  Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Carton was convicted of defrauding investors of millions in a phony concert tickets re-sale business. Carton, who had insisted that he was innocent of the charges, now admits his guilt.  He tweeted, “I made mistakes. Mistakes in judgments, decisions and how I was living my life.  I was wrong.  I have, will, and should continue to pay a dear price for those mistakes.  I also though, believe in redemption and earning second chances…I will work tirelessly to repay those whom I have hurt and to regain the trust that you all had in me.”  Carton was co-host of the morning show on WFAN, New York at the time of his arrest in September of 2017.

Gallagher Chats with Florida Trump Fans. Pictured above outside Amway Stadium in Orlando is Salem Radio Network talk radio host Mike Gallagher (center) with Donald Trump supporters “Kevin from Pompano Beach” and “Barry from Key West” — the first two people in line for tonight’s Trump 2020 kickoff rally.  Gallagher and fellow SRN host Dr. Sebastian Gorka are broadcasting their Tuesday programs from the nearby Hairy Buffalo sports bar.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces Ceremony Presenters. The New York Festivals Radio Awards announces the prominent radio industry professionals slated to present awards at the 2019 Radio Awards ceremony at Manhattan Penthouse in New York on June 24.  The 2019 ceremony segment presenters include: Richard Baker, senior investigative journalist, The Age, Melbourne, Australia; Jennie Cataldo, vice president of programming, BMP Audio, USA; Donal O’Herlihy, producer, “Documentary on One,” RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland; Tanya Springer, senior producer, CBC Podcasts, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada; and Mark Travis, associate director, media production, New York Philharmonic, USA.  For more information on the 2019 NYF Radio Awards gala or to purchase tickets, please click here.  See a complete list of all the 2019 New York Festivals Radio Award Finalists here.

Iran Nukes, 2020 Presidential Race, SCOTUS Virginia Gerrymandering Ruling, Illegal Immigration/Trump Announces Deportation Plan, U.S. Hacks Russia’s Power Grid, Stewart vs McConnell on 9/11 Victims Fund, and Raptors Victory Celebration Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17).  Iran’s statement of intent to violate the terms of the previous nuclear deal and the U.S.’s talk of military options; the Democrats running for president and Donald Trump’s kick-off of the 2020 campaign; the Supreme Court rules against Republicans in the Virginia gerrymandering case; the immigration issues at the Southern border and President Trump’s statement that ICE will begin deporting millions; allegations the U.S. has hacked Russia’s power grid; Jon Stewart’s challenge to Mitch McConnell to fully fund the 9/11 victims fund; and the shootings at the Toronto Raptors victory celebration were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Collecting Pennies for a Good Cause. KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) helped collect more than 1.6 million pennies – for a total of $16,743 – to benefit the Boise Rescue Mission.  Pictured with Miller is Todd Christensen of Cap Ed Credit Union (left) and Reverend Bill Roscoe of the Boise Rescue Mission (center).  To collect the pennies, Miller lived in a local Walmart for a week collecting coins, dollars, and other items.

Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Honor NBC TV 4, Los Angeles, Meteorologist Fritz Coleman.  NBC4 meteorologist Fritz Coleman was honored with the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award for his many distinguished years as a “TV Icon Weatherman and Comic Entertainer” during a ceremony at the Airtel Hotel in Van Nuys last week (6/14).  Pictured above at the event: TalkersRadio personality Meg McDonald (center) KFI, Los Angeles host Tim Conway, Jr. (left) and Pacific Pioneer Broadcaster board member and KTWV, Los Angeles host Mike Sakellarides (right). Photo: Roxanne Schorbach

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Providence country outlet WCTK-FM “Cat Country 98.1” moves midday personality Madelyn Grimaldi to mornings as co-host with Brian Mulhern.  Taking over the open midday slot is Courtney Kelley, who’s been with the station as a part-time and fill-in jock.  Hall Communications vice president of programming Bob Walker says, “Our philosophy is to hire great people and allow them to grow in our company and the industry. Being able to see these two talented personalities take on new challenges is what it’s all about.”…..Premiere Networks promotes Mary DelGrande from executive director of affiliate sales to vice president of affiliate sales.  New York-based DelGrande continues to oversee affiliate sales for Premiere’s roster of national entertainment programs, including: Delilah, “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan,” “ON with Mario Lopez,” and more.

Friday, May 31, 2019

| May 31, 2019

SRN Places Full Lineup on KJJC, Salt Lake City. On Monday (6/3), KJJC Media Group is debuting the market’s new talk outlet, “The Place 1230 AM, KJJC, Common Sense Talk Radio.”  The lineup will include Salem Radio Network programs including: Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Larry Elder, and Joe Walsh, and others.  The station’s brand – The Place – is a reference to Mormon leader Brigham Young’s comment he made upon settling in the region.  KJJC Media CEO Roger Lonnquist says, “There’s probably never been a time in our country’s history when the need for relevant talk radio programming has been so significant.  KJJC Media Group recognized the opportunity for serving listeners with high-quality programming that is not only entertaining, but also reflects the values of our communities in the greater Salt Lake region.”  Salem Media Group SVP spoken word formats Phil Boyce says, “Salt Lake City is home to the smartest and most engaged listeners to be found anywhere.  Our hosts look forward to engaging with the Salt Lake radio listeners on the issues that have an impact on all of us.”  Lonnquist says he plans to add an FM simulcast to the station’s signal by the end of summer.

FOX News Radio Names ‘Guy Benson Show’ Afternoon Program. The new “Guy Benson Show” replaces the “Tom Shillue Show” in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daypart on the FOX News Radio network, effective Monday (6/3).  Shillue remains host of “Quiz Show” (7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET on the subscription-based streaming service FOX Nation).  Benson previously hosted the “Benson & Harf” show with former FOX News contributor Marie Harf.  She left the company to take a position with the presidential campaign of Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA).  The “Guy Benson Show” is based out of FOX’s Washington, D.C. operations.  Benson, who joined FOX in 2013 as a contributor, also serves as the political editor of Townhall.com.  Throughout his career, he has served as a Media Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

Alpha Media and Compass Media Networks Double Down on ‘Markley, van Camp & Robbins’ Show.  With the original co-host back on the show and a new, multi-year extension of the partnership for programming and syndication signed, Alpha Media and Compass Media Networks are moving full-steam ahead with the newly rebranded “Markley, van Camp & Robbins Show.”  Based at Midwest Communications’ WMBD, Peoria and heard on more than 50 affiliate stations, the show features Jamie Markley, David van Camp, and Scott Robbins.  Robbins was Markley’s original partner but a massive heart attack in 2015 forced him off the air.  He recently returned to the show as a contributor and is now a full-time member of the show.  Alpha and Compass say the addition of Scott Robbins accentuates the show’s focus on addressing topics from the perspective of a Baby Boomer, Gen Xer, and a Millennial by having a host from each generation.  Alpha EVP of content Phil Becker says, “Markley, van Camp and Robbins have achieved the perfect blend of chemistry and humor.  This is the show news/talk stations have been looking for.”  The show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.

Davis Media Expands ‘All-News 102’ on WBKQ-FM. In Eastern Virginia, Davis Media is dropping the classical music format on WBKQ-FM, West Point (southeast of Richmond) and will add it to the group of signals airing the “All-News 102” format.  That brand is based at WXTG-AM/FM (1490 AM and 102.1 FM), Portsmouth and is also heard on W270DA at 101.9 in Hampton.  Davis Media says, “The new format will be the historic district’s only all-news radio station powered by 10 journalists in the Southside, Hampton-Newport News region and Williamsburg.”  The multi-media company publishes local print brands Southside Daily, Hampton Newport News Daily, and Williamsburg Yorktown Daily.  It also has a content-sharing partnership with WVEC-TV, Hampton “13NewsNow.” Dee Patel, a former 10-year KYW, Philadelphia news director, serves as general manager and news director for “All-News 102.”

Four More to Enter WGN ‘Walk of Fame.’ The sixth class of inductees into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame has been announced and “includes four native Chicagoans, two of whom are present-day voices, one who hosted a show for 60 consecutive years, and a behind-the-scenes staff member with 52 years of service to the station.”  The honorees are: Andrea Darlas, longtime WGN news director and now senior director of constituent engagement at the University of Illinois; 22-year WGN air personality and current midday host John Williams; “Tenpin Tattler” Sam Weinstein who hosted a bowling feature on the station for almost 30 years; and Marlene Wells, a member of the station’s marketing and sales team for more than 50 years.  See more about the inductees here.

Alexander Hamilton Descendant to Speak at Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation Event. At this year’s annual event presented by the Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation, Douglas Hamilton, the fifth-generation great grandson of Alexander Hamilton, will speak to attendees.  The Bold Gold Foundation’s 5th Annual Event – being held on June 12 in Mohegan Sun Pocono’s Keystone Grand Ballroom – will celebrate the life of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the founding of America, which, in addition to remarks by Douglas Hamilton, will include a special keynote address by Dr. Stephen Knott.  Dr. Knott is a national security affairs professor at the Naval War College and is one of the nation’s leading scholars on Alexander Hamilton.  He’s also author of the best-selling book, Washington & Hamilton:  The Alliance That Forged America.  Attendees of this very unique event will receive a signed copy of Dr. Knott’s book and have an opportunity to take photos with Dr. Knott and Douglas Hamilton.  The Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation assists students in preparing for careers in broadcasting and media and proceeds from this event directly support those efforts.  The organization was founded by Bold Gold Media president/CEO Vince Benedetto, who will be one of 67 industry speakers participating in a power-packed agenda at the sold out 22nd annual TALKERS convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story– next Friday, June 7 in New York City.   He will also be this year’s recipient of the “Humanitarian of the Year” award.  For details about the convention, please click here.

New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” Now Posted.  The recently launched one-hour weekend radio show, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” analyzing the hot talk media topics of this past week (May 27-31) is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  Hosted by TALKERS magazine’s iconic publisher, this week’s installment (titled “Mueller Speaks!”) features a lineup of guests that includes syndicated talk show hosts Howie Carr and Thom Hartmann along with Los Angeles Times columnist/podcaster and KPCC, Los Angeles host Patt Morrison; WFAN, New York host Richard NeerDC Radio Company executive director Victoria JonesTALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey and TalkersRadio general manager/Caldwell University, NJ professor David Bernstein.  The non-partisan program explores multiple opinions along the spectrum of contemporary American political and social thought.  It has just been picked up by KSCO, Santa Cruz where it airs on Fridays at 6:00 pm. According to TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein, it is now available on a market exclusive basis to news/talk stations around the nation.  Bernstein says, “We began this program as an on-air extension of TALKERS magazine research to be played on TalkersRadio and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The show is nothing short of fantastic and provides a great image-setter for any news/talk outlet.  iHeart picked it up for its new WONK-FM in DC where it fits that station’s mission perfectly and number of stations have inquired about its availability.  For more information about the program, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  To listen to it in its entirety here.

WABC’s Joan Hamburg Hosts Pre-Tony Luncheon.  Pictured above is WABC, New York personality Joan Hamburg (center) during her annual Pre-Tony luncheon at Arno Ristorante in New York with actor Santino Fontana (left) and Lilli Cooper (right), both nominated for Tony Awards for their roles in “Tootsie.”  The sold-out audience witnessed appearances by Broadway stars including: Jeff Daniels, Tony Award-winning actor and Tony nominee this year for his role as Atticus Finch in the smash Broadway play, “To Kill A Mockingbird”; “King Lear” actress Glenda Jackson, who won the Tony last year for Best Actress in a Play for her work in “Three Tall Women”; Damon Daunno, Tony nominee for his work in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma”; and Susie Essman of television’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”  Highlights of the show will air on 77 WABC in two parts – on Saturday (6/1) and Saturday (6/8) at 1:00 pm.    Part 1 will air this Saturday, June 1st, at 1:00 pm, while Part 2 will air the following Saturday, June 8th at 1:00 pm. The 2019 Tony Awards will air live on CBS on Sunday, June 9th, at 8:00 pm ET, from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “Joan Hamburg’s Pre-Tony luncheon is a must-attend for Tony nominees.  The event is yet another example of the respect Joan has throughout New York’s theater community.  We are fortunate to bring the best of Broadway to 77 WABC and our listeners.”

‘SVP & Russillo’ Returns in Podcast Format. For six years, ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo co-hosted the “SVP & Russillo” show on the ESPN Radio Network.  That show ended in 2015, but now ESPN is putting the two back together for a one-hour podcast on its digital platform.  The first program debuts on June 3.  After three monthly editions, in September the show will become bi-weekly. Van Pelt says, “We just figured, if we are going to talk on the phone for 45 minutes, we might as well record it and make it a podcast.  We enjoyed our time together on radio and it’s amazing the loyalty and appetite our listeners still have for us.  I couldn’t be more fired up.”  Russillo adds, “It’s been a few years since we stopped doing the show and I’ve always been amazed how many times people come up to me and say how much they still miss it.  It was a daily part of people’s lives.  Even people at ESPN who have different roles and positions today say how much they loved the show.  We both knew we would do something again.  I’m just happy it’s still with ESPN.”

Robert Mueller’s Justice Department Statements Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 27-31.  Special counsel Robert Mueller’s news conference at the Justice Department in which he declined to say the president had not attempted to obstruct justice was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the intensification of impeachment talks among Democrats.  Coming in at #3 was the increasing tensions between the U.S. and China over trade issues, followed by the new anti-abortion laws being passed in several states 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.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Edison Research Analyzes Social Media Use; What’s Up (or Down) with Facebook? Using data from its national telephone survey from the 2019 Infinite Dial study, its own national online survey, and its own in-person, in-depth interview survey, Edison Research presents “The Social Habit 2019” study.  Edison concludes that in the big picture, “there are now approximately 223 million social media users age 12+ in the U.S., and their original social media platform of choice, Facebook, is losing ground among users of all ages, for various reasons.”  Facebook reportedly has 15 million less users in the U.S. in 2019 than it did in 2017.  Edison SVP Tom Webster says, “Not only have millions of Americans stopped using Facebook entirely, nearly a third of Facebook users tell us they are using the service less.  While Facebook remains the leading social media brand in America, it is being wounded on multiple fronts, as every demographic has their own reasons for spending less time there.”  Some of the other findings are: 1) The “core users” of the different social media brands, (those who use that one ‘most often’) have different demographic profiles; 2) Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter have the highest composition of U.S. users age 12-34.  Facebook and Pinterest have the highest composition of U.S. users age 55+; 3) In qualitative interviews, Edison Research spoke with social media users age 18-29 who report using Facebook less recently or have stopped altogether.  Those users describe some of the reasons they are using Facebook less, including avoiding family members on Facebook, experiencing discomfort with some of the “attention-seeking” they see on social media, and gravitating to other, more photo-heavy platforms. Paradoxically, though, the same users articulate FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, as they scan social media platforms, and feel compelled to participate in social media.  See more here.

Legendary Music Radio Programmer John Sebastian Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  He was one of the most prolific music radio PDs of the 70s, 80s and 90s – programming small-, medium- and large-market stations in the genres of top 40, AOR (album-oriented rock), classic rock, smooth jazz, and even country to notable success between Boston and Los Angeles.  Then as the 21st century unfolded, he did some consulting and eventually went on to a viable career as a voice actor.  But the itch to get back into music radio has prompted John Sebastian to go back to the drawing board and scratch out a brand-new music radio format targeting a familiar old segment of the population – the underserved 55-72 baby boomer demographic.  He calls it “The Wow Factor” and he’s out there talking it up to everyone and anyone who owns an FM stick.  Of course, today’s conventional wisdom in commercial radio is to follow the advertising agency money which is clearly aimed at the younger demos.  But Sebastian says it is foolish to leave all the revenue on the table that can be generated by serving the baby boomer demo which remains active, affluent, and grew up listening to radio.  Sebastian is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  This podcast is a must-listen for anyone who loves radio history and would be fascinated by a deep-dive analysis of the modern-day industry’s frustrating logic of underserved demographics.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Pictured in the photo at right is Big Al Mack from the YEA Networks nationally syndicated morning radio program, “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” (center) with country star Blake Shelton (left) and Gwen Stefani (right).  Big Al was asked if he’d introduce Blake at the Memorial Day weekend Grand Opening of Shelton’s new live music venue, The Doghouse at Ole Red, in his hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma.  Shelton told Big Al the reason he asked him was because, “Every time I look on Twitter, you’re always saying something nice about me!”  Proceeds of more than $145,000 from the ticket sales went to benefit the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation…..In the photo below, Westwood One syndicated personality Blair Garner, host of “The Blair Garner Show,” poses at the private Center Point Road listening party for Thomas Rhett fans who won their way in to the special event at Cumulus Nashville’s country WKDF “NASH FM 103.3” last week.  Listeners got to hear Rhett’s new album before its release and hear him speak about his life and career.  From left to right are: Valory Music’s Ashley Sidoti, Chris Palmer, Rhett, Garner, WKDF PD John Shomby, Tyler Reese, and Kelley Brock.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

| May 21, 2019

ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER:  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout!  The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out.  The final deadline for registrations being accepted is this Friday, May 24 at 5:00 pm ET.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity.  We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency.  That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.”  To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.

WGN, Chicago Names Mary Sandberg Boyle Director of News and Operations. In Chicago, Tribune Broadcasting is promoting Mary Sandberg Boyle – executive producer of the Steve Cochran morning show – to the position of director of news and operations.  Sandberg Boyle assumes the role left open when Stephanie Tichenor jumped across the street to take on the program director position at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM.  Sandberg Boyle began her service with WGN Radio in 2015 and helped to launch the station’s weekday morning business show, “The Opening Bell.”  WGN-AM station manager and vice president of content Todd Manley says, “Mary brings us years of success managing high profile talent and a fresh vision for the next generation of WGN Radio.”

KTSA, San Antonio to Tweak Lineup.  The talk show lineup at Alpha Media’s news/talk KTSA, San Antonio changes, effective June 17.  Trey Ware remains in morning drive from 5:00 am to 9:00 am and will be joined by current KTSA air personality Sean Rima from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.  Rima then goes solo from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. New to the lineup is the “Markley and Van Camp” program (featuring Jamie Markley and David Van Camp) for the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot.  Dave Ramsey remains from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and longtime midday personality Jack Riccardi moves to the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart.  Check out the station’s promotional video here.

Nielsen Audio Podcast Investigates Neuroscience and Radio Ads. In a two-part podcast titled, “Your Brain on Audio,” the Nielsen Audio Podcast features communications professor Dr. Rob Potter from Indiana University to share his findings from a career spent researching how the brain responds to sound, and what it takes to capture listener attention and create memorable commercials.  Nielsen Audio says, “The first step in that process is understanding how the brain works and how it’s evolved to process information.  This knowledge is important all along the marketing cycle, particularly in today’s cluttered media world.  There are distinct differences between automatic attention and controlled attention when it comes to our physiology, and different tools radio producers can use to trigger those parts of our brain.  Everything from the music bed in a commercial to the pitch and number of voices used affects how consumers pay attention to a particular message.  Then, once attention has been captured, creative shoulders the important task of imprinting the message into memory networks.  One simple way to affect memory is to play on emotion using words or music, and the cutting edge of neuroscience marketing research is exploring the specific ties between music and emotion for use as a tool in making better ads.”  Check out the first podcast here.

WSB, Atlanta Presents Video Documentary of the Jamie Dupree Story. Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the story of WSB, Atlanta-based Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree’s battle with tongue protrusion dystonia that’s left him unable to speak.  Now, the station is featuring a video documentary telling Dupree’s story on its website.  Titled, “Voice of Reason,” the program details Dupree’s story and reveals how Cox Media Group identified a new, pioneering approach to return Dupree’s voice to radio.  CMG worked with Edinburgh-based speech synthesis firm CereProc. It sent hours of his archived radio reports to Scotland where engineers and audio specialists digitized and recreated his voice so that Dupree can write a script for a report that is converted into an audio file that sounds nearly identical to his natural voice.  Dupree says, “My health is fine, but my voice is not – and I honestly don’t know if I will ever speak normally again.  I’ll be forever grateful to my WSB and CMG family for getting me back on the air with Jamie Dupree 2.0.”  See the video, directed by WSB Radio videographer Jesse Brooks and produced by Cox Media Group digital content manager Zac Morgan, here.

Glenn Johnson Named OM for Cumulus Pensacola. The five-station Cumulus Media cluster in Pensacola has a new operations manager.  Glenn Johnson moves from the company’s NASH studios in Nashville where he was executive producer for “The Ty Bentli Show” to serve with the cluster that includes news/talk WCOA-AM and four music brands.  Cumulus Media regional VP Pete DeSimone says, “This is a win-win – a homecoming for Glenn and an opportunity to retain a very talented broadcaster.  We are extremely excited to have him leading the Pensacola programming team.”

Guaranty Media Brings Elliott Aboard as OM for Baton Rouge Stations. Programming pro Chris Elliott joins Guaranty Media in Baton Rouge as operations manager for the cluster that includes: news/talk WBRP-FM “Talk 107.3,” sports talk duo WNXX-FM/KNXX-FM “ESPN Baton Rouge,” and two music-formatted stations.  Elliott comes to Baton Rouge from his most recent position as brand manager for Manning Media’s hot AC WAFY, Frederick, Maryland.  Guaranty president and CEO Flynn Foster says, “Because great radio should reflect the ever-demanding needs of a local market, we are happy to announce the installment of our new OM to help us meet these demands.  Chris will be a powerful addition to our team.  He will lead our five stations, enhance our existing programming, develop new local talent, and expand our digital platforms. We are very excited to have Chris join us.”

Digital Talk Brand MoJo 5-0 to Support Veterans Causes. Digital talk radio station MoJo 5-0 – a new station focusing on conservative and libertarian content – is involved in two Memorial Day programs in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to assist veterans.  MoJo 5-0 was founded by late talk radio host Doc Thompson, who had a passion for veterans’ causes.  First, Matt Locke, host of the “Conservative Cartel” on MoJo 5-0, will broadcast live from the Warrior Tent on the 16th hole of Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge.  There he’ll interview numerous veterans to help bring attention to non-profits that benefit them.  Second, the 2019 Memorial Day Celebrity Softball Classic, benefitting CarryTheLoad.org, will be held on Saturday (5/25) at Airhogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas. MoJo 5-0 hosts Matt Locke and Rocci Stucci are scheduled to play alongside professional athletes, musicians, celebrities, and military heroes.  Locke says, “The Dallas-Ft. Worth area is a huge part of what we are at MoJo 5-0, and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to give back via both of these events.  We’ve been very vocal about honoring our military heroes and continuing the legacy that Doc Thompson established, and we’re thrilled to support these non-profits that play a vital role in veterans’ causes.”   MoJo 5-0 was developed, launched, and is managed by Cuddle Me Buff, LLC, a partnership of broadcasting experts encompassing all areas of the production spectrum, from operations to talent, business to sales.  Within six months of launch, MoJo 5-0 went from 0 listeners to 110K unique sessions weekly, and recently celebrated its one millionth download. MoJo 5-0 is distributed by iHeartRadio, and broadcasts from custom studios near Fort Worth, Texas.

iHeartMedia Appoints Kareem Chin to Investor Relations Position. Now that iHeartMedia is listed on the NASDAQ following its exit from Chapter 11 reorganization, it is naming media industry pro Kareem Chin SVP and head of investor relations.  In this position, Chin will manage iHeartMedia’s relationship with the investor community to ensure the company strategy is aligned with the needs of its equity holders.  Chin will work closely with COO and CFO Rich Bressler, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, EVP and general counsel Paul McNicol, and leaders of iHeartMedia’s finance and communications teams, and will oversee the company’s investor conferences, investor meetings, and quarterly earnings releases and financial filings.  He spent the last three years as VP of investor relations for Viacom.

iHeartMedia Boston Appoints Adam Ralston VP of Marketing. Boston marketing pro Adam Ralston is named vice president of marketing for iHeartMedia’s station group there that includes: news/talk WRKO, news/talk WXKS-AM, all-news WBZ-AM, and five music brands.  iHeartMedia VP of programming Dylan Sprague says, “Adam’s leadership, programming and sales strategy, event experience, knowledge of the market and long history of success coupled with his strong local relationships stood out and I know he is the perfect fit.  I’m thrilled to have him lead our best-in-class marketing team and contribute to our brands’ ongoing success.”

Raiders Games to Air on KYMT-FM, Las Vegas. For the 2019 NFL season, Oakland Raiders’ games will air on iHeartMedia’s classic rock KYMT “93.1 The Mountain.”  Raiders games are produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks.  The play-by-play is being called by broadcasting legend Brent Musburger.  Former All-Pro tackle Lincoln Kennedy is handling color analysis and Chris Townsend serves as sideline reporter.  This is the team’s last season playing in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum before it relocates to Las Vegas in 2020.

Trump Financial Records Subpoena, Dems Impeachment Talk, U.S.-Iran Tensions, U.S.-China Tariff Battle, New Anti-Abortion Laws, ‘Game of Thrones’ Finale, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20). A federal judge rules President Trump’s accounting firm must turn over documents requested by congress; key Democrats battle House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over impeachment possibility; reports Iran has heightened production of enriched uranium as the U.S. warns of possible military action against it; the trade war being waged between the U.S. and China; the new, restrictive anti-abortion laws being passed in several states; the finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; and NBA/NHL playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Pictured below is CMT personality Cody Alan (second from right) with members of Little Big Town at the second-annual “Live in the Vineyard Goes Country” three-day music and wine festival.  Alan chatted with all of the artists appearing at the festival and interviewed Little Big Town for the syndicated radio show “CMT After MidNite” and “CMT Radio Live” on June 3.

Friday, March 8, 2019

| March 8, 2019

WGN, Chicago Brings Back ‘Extension 720’ with Host Justin Kaufmann. The original “Extension 720” was hosted by the late Milt Rosenberg for 40 years but was canceled by station management in 2012.  Now, the Tribune Media station announces that Justin Kaufmann will leave his role with the morning drive Steve Cochran program to take over hosting the new 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm show.  Pete Zimmerman will serve as producer.  WGN station manager and VP on content Todd Manley says the new show will honor the format of Rosenberg’s program with long-form interviews.  Kaufmann will also “meet Chicago voices on location in the communities and neighborhoods where they live and work and will focus on a variety of topics, from arts & culture to politics and innovation.”  Monday evenings will still belong to “Andrea Darlas & The Reporters” and sports play-by-play will bump the show from time to time.  Kaufmann has been with WGN since joining from public media outlet WBEZ-FM in 2015.  He says, “I’m honored and humbled to be at the helm of one of the best radio shows in Chicago history.”

WHO, Des Moines Goes ‘All-Female’ in Honor of International Women’s Day. In recognition of today’s International Women’s Day, iHeartMedia news/talk WHO, Des Moines is presenting a lineup of entirely female hosts.  WHO’s International Women’s Day program lineup will include: Bonnie Lucas, Leila Rush, and Heather Burnside-Parizek from 1460 KXnO as hosts for “Van and Bonnie in the Morning,” with WHO personality Adrianne Branstad and WHO news director Wendy Wilde as hosts for “Need to Know with Jeff Angelo,” and WHO news anchor Sue Danielson as the host for “The Simon Conway Show.”  WHO program director Michael Dorwart says, “As a company we aim to celebrate the contributions of women in music and radio year-round and on International Women’s Day we are highlighting our accomplished radio personalities even more as we support and promote gender balance in the workplace and the world.”  The station adds that in addition to broadcasting 1040 WHO’s most renowned on-air personalities and hosts, the International Women’s Day programming will showcase a variety of different topics that inspire women – ranging from sports, business, and agriculture.  Cristen Clark, a successful farmer and founder of agricultural website Food and Swine, will be featured on-air with several successful women in Iowa agriculture and will be joined by co-host and producer, Morgan McEnany.  To end the day, 1040 WHO will also broadcast coverage of the nationally ranked University of Iowa women’s basketball team as they play their first game of the Big 10 Conference Tournament.

KYW, Philadelphia Personalities Seek Federal Mediator in Union Negotiations. A report by Philadelphia Business Journal’s Jeff Blumenthal indicates that the SAG-AFTRA-represented on-air staffers at Entercom’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia are asking for federal mediation to resolve their issues in contract negotiations with the company. As TALKERS reported previously, SAG-AFTRA publicly called out Entercom for what it is now calling “low-balling” during negotiations for the all-news stations previously owned by CBS RADIO.  Entercom responded, saying: “These discussions include contracts that had been open for years prior to our merger with CBS RADIO, as well as more recently expired agreements.  We prefer to negotiate directly with SAG-AFTRA and our employees, not publicly, and do not intend to comment further.”  Local SAG-AFTRA president Sam Clover tells the PBJ, “We’ve bargained for years with CBS RADIO and never had to take this step, but now we’re dealing with a new company who won’t compromise, so we’re reaching out for help.”  Most cutting to KYW talent is the company’s desire to cut severance benefits by 50% to 90%, according to the story.  Read it here.

PPM Analysis: January 2019 Pacesetters. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the January 2019 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio to see which formats/specific stations are in the lead (#1 and #2) positions in their respective markets.  Interestingly, while no news/talk station finished #2 in its market, five news/talk stations ranked #1 (6+) in the market during the January survey.  They were: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento and WLW, Cincinnati; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; and Cox’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. See the whole report here.

PodcastOne and Law & Crime Network Team Up. A new deal between PodcastOne and the Dan Abrams-founded Law & Crime will include a series of new podcasts focusing on the worlds of law and true-crime.   Law & Crime is a 24/7 linear and OTT live trial network.  The first podcast to debut is the self-titled “Dan Abrams Podcast,” set to release new episodes every Thursday.  Abrams says, “Law & Crime is excited to expand its distribution to yet another important medium.  Our partnership with PodcastOne will allow us share some amazing stories with expert legal analysis to a new audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. Boston sports media personality Kirk Minihane is the subject of a profile piece in Boston Magazine.  Last fall, Minihane refused to sign a document promising to not attack the Boston Red Sox or the Boston Globe and to “not be mean-spirited” on the radio and that led to his departure from the WEEI, Boston morning show with co-host Gerry Callahan.  But, he’s still with Entercom, working on his own program emanating from the company’s RADIO.COM platform.  The piece recounts Minihane’s battle with depression and how WEEI changed its morning show…..Envision Networks and the GAB Radio Network are partnering to distribute 14 of the latter’s talk programs to radio stations.  GAB’s shows cover topics including news, sports, music, lifestyle, and more.  GAB general manager Chuck Duncan says, “GAB Radio has become one of the premier production and distribution companies in network radio.  Partnering with Envision was the natural progression to our growth strategy.  Their unbridled vision and outstanding team are an extension of GAB Radio Network.”…..iHeartMedia announces Annette Geiser is promoted to SVP of sales for its Colorado Springs and Pueblo markets that include news/talk KCSJ, Pueblo.  Geiser was most recently a senior account executive.  Market president Jessica Farias says, “I’m excited to have Annette step up and take on this leadership role as the senior vice president of sales.  Annette’s depth of knowledge in the Colorado Springs and Pueblo markets along with her deep relationships are key in leading a best-in-class sales team at iHeartMedia Colorado Springs and Pueblo.”…..Entercom sports talker WIP, Philadelphia is presenting the annual live event “SportsRadio 94WIP Birds Town Hall” – a discussion about the state of the Philadelphia Eagles led by WIP on-air personalities and featuring various NFL and Eagles experts.  It’s taking place all day at MaGerks Pub & Grill in Horsham, Pennsylvania…..Podcast company Cadence13, is presenting the SXSW Podcast Stage at this year’s SXSW in Austin taking place today through March 17. The SXSW Podcast Stage presented by Cadence13 will host podcasts across a number of genres — music, film, technology, comedy, politics, and more — recorded in front of a live audience during the SXSW conference…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs” show is added to the daily lineup of Spirit Broadcasting’s WINT-AM, Willoughby, Ohio (Cleveland market).

Cohen Sues Trump Organization Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 4-8, 2019. Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s suit against the Trump Organization and his congressional testimony about President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the U.S. House investigation into President Trump for obstruction of justice and more.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Russia probe and the related sentencing of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, followed by the state of the U.S.-Mexico border 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 and Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Morning Talk on a Classic Rock Station: Mike “Bax” Baxendale is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The co-host of what is pound-for-pound one of the most successful talk shows on American radio, Mike “Bax” Baxendale, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  For the past 24 years, Baxendale has co-hosted the “Bax & O’ Brien Show” with his team-mate, John O’ Brien in mornings on the Saga Communications powerhouse classic rock station, WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts.  The all-talk show is an eclectic blend of local and national politics, regional issues, pop culture, lifestyle trends, frivolous “locker room” banter and compellingly candid insights into the personal lives of the show’s participants.  “Rock 102” boasts a “flame thrower” signal that radiates far beyond Springfield and Western Massachusetts to blanket the neighboring market of Hartford, Connecticut – going far north into Vermont, south to New Haven and west into parts of New York State.  Michael Harrison says, “Saga doesn’t need to subscribe to the ratings to sell advertising on this gem of a property in its primary listening area – the team of Bax and O’ Brien are superstars in this heavily populated region of New England.  Their success and impact are self-evident.  They are household names and two of the most beloved ‘bad boys’ I’ve ever seen in radio.  They are examples of the sheer power of this medium when done properly with authenticity and consistency.  They are also wonderful examples of the growing number of ‘all-talk’ shows that have popped up over the years on FM music stations – shows that defy the narrow, self-imposed restrictions that have come to define programming on traditional AM news/talk outlets.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right hand-column of the TALKERS email newsletter or on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Jacksonville station WWJK-FM flips from adult hits to rock as “107.3 Planet Radio,” anchored by the morning drive “Lex and Terry” show.  The station is featuring core artists such as: AC/DC, Nirvana, Metallica, Linkin Park, and Sublime. iHeartMedia Jacksonville SVP of programming G-Wiz says, “Planet Radio is Jacksonville’s best rock station ever.  The legendary Planet Radio not only features Jacksonville’s highest rated morning show, ‘Lex and Terry,’ but has the hardest working, 24/7 radio staff.  I’m excited to have ‘Planet Radio’ back at its original frequency 107.3.”…..In San Francisco, morning personality Elvis Medina exits Entercom’s alternative KITS “ALT 105.3” and co-host Daena “DK” Kramer continues as solo host.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

| January 30, 2019

Brad Lane to Program WTMJ and WKTI/WAUK in Milwaukee.  Programming pro Brad Lane is named program director for Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ and sports talk duo WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN 94.5” and “540 ESPN,” effective February 6.  He was most recently program director as Hubbard Radio’s sports talk KSTP-AM, Minneapolis.  Lane says, “This is a dream role to work with a legacy station like WTMJ and the powerful brand of ‘ESPN Milwaukee.’  I’m excited to work with the incredible team and resources available to make our content more engaging, relevant, and obtainable on all platforms, along with helping to cultivate and foster development of personalities on all our stations.  I’m enormously grateful to Craig Karmazin, [VP/GM] Steve Wexler, and all of Good Karma Brands for the chance to lead these content teams and join one of the most innovative companies in the country.”  Steve Wexler adds, “We are thrilled to welcome Brad to the Good Karma Brands family.  His leadership, vision and creativity will help us continue to grow our news, sports and event marketing brands in Wisconsin.”

FNR’s New Podcast: ‘The Candidates with Bret Baier.’ A new podcast series is debuting from FOX News Radio called “The Candidates with Bret Baier,” beginning February 12.  The weekly podcast will focus on the 2020 field of presidential candidates.  Each week, Baier will be joined by a rotating panel of experts who will discuss “the latest on each candidate, their motivation towards entering the race, their possible campaign strategy and potential path to victory.”

iHeartMedia Debuts New Afternoon Show at ‘The Game’ in Orlando. Sports talk outlet WYGM-AM/W245CL “FM 96.9 The Game” announced the launch of the new “In the Zone with Brandon Kravitz and The Shot Doctor” program to air in afternoon drive beginning on February 11.  The program will star Brandon Kravitz along with “The Shot Doctor” Austin Pistulka who serves as the executive producer.  iHeartMedia RVP of programming for iHeartMedia North Florida Rick Everett says, “We’re extremely excited about the new era of ‘FM 96.9 The Game.’  When you’re looking for the best live sports talk, this is the place to tune in.”  Kravitz says, “For the last several years, I’ve been honing my craft and working towards this goal.  I plan to bring a fresh approach to afternoon drive, while engaging with our interactive audience.  I cannot wait to link back up with The Shot Doctor – we have chemistry from two years of doing afternoon drive together in the past and I look forward to picking up where we left off and taking it to the next level.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Houston sports talker KFNC-FM “ESPN 97.5” gets some love from the Houston Press as the Best Radio Station in its Best of Houston 2019 feature.  The paper says of the Gow Media sports talk outlet: “After some rough patches, Gow has built a mini media empire in Houston that includes ‘ESPN 97.5,’ a station that not only has content from the biggest sports network on the planet, but has some of the most talented personalities in the city, including guys like Lance Zierlein and John Granato, still the best pairing of morning sports talk hosts in the city’s history, and Raheel Ramzanali and Del Olaleye, who managed to stick out the myriad number of changes at the various Gow stations over the years.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WGN-AM news anchor Judy Pielach – who recently left the station after taking a Tribune Broadcasting-offered buyout – was on the air with new WLS-AM morning personality Erich Mancow Muller yesterday (1/29) auditioning for a contributor role with the program.  Feder quotes Muller saying of Pielach’s performance, “I thought she was fantastic! A pro. Talent trumps all.”…..The Post and Courier is reporting that the South Carolina college sports-focused “SportsTalk” show with host Phil Kornblut is ending its run on the S.C. Radio Network because Learfield/IMG is shutting the network down, saying it has been “underperforming.”  Kornblut has hosted a sports talk show on the network since it launched 35 years ago.  The story indicated he is working to continue the show and for now it appears it’ll still air on Glory Communications’ WQXL-AM/W264DF “The Point” from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm nightly…..Back in the Windy City, William J. Kelly, host of the “Citizen Kelly Show,” announces his show will soon have an FM presence in the Chicagoland market.  His show is heard on WCGO, Evanston and he says it will “soon be heard on Pollack Broadcasting’s soon-to-be launched FM talk station, 95.9 FM.”…..Nationally syndicated talk radio host, author, and clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner – who calls herself a “romance guide” – is celebrating her 22nd anniversary as a talk radio host this weekend.  Dr. Kenner is also available for Valentine’s Day interviews…..Public media company KQED in San Francisco promotes Maria Miller to the position of chief administrative officer in which she’ll be responsible for “ensuring the efficient and effective performance of KQED by strategizing, developing, planning, and implementing effective operational and administrative functions.”  Since June 2016 she has been vice president, human resources & chief labor/employment council.

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on 6+ data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. The annual Holiday ratings period usually sees boosts for the music stations playing Christmas music and dips for spoken-word stations and that was the case for all-news as nine of the nation’s news stations declined (weekly 6+ AQH share). Comparing the Holiday 2017 data to Holiday 2018, it was a wash with half the stations improving and half declining. Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and WWJ, Detroit, along with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington all held onto their #2 ranking in their respective markets during the Holiday survey.  See the whole report here.

FOX News Channel Marks 17 Years as Top Cable Newser; ‘Hannity’ Most-Watched, Non-College Football Cable Program in January. According to data from Nielsen Media Research, FOX News Channel was the most-watched cable news network for the 17th year straight, besting its competition – CNN and MSNBC – in total viewers and the 25-54 demo.  January viewing figures indicated the prime time “Hannity” show with host Sean Hannity, was the most-watched, non-college football cable telecast during the month.  Hannity was the top cable news prime time show with total viewers of 3 million-plus and 538,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo.  For all of prime time, FNC averaged 2.2 million total viewers (beating MSNBC’s 1.97 million and CNN’s 1.2 million) and in the 25-54 demo averaged 382,000 (topping CNN’s 363,000 and MSNBC’s 349,000).  It’s worth noting, however, that FNC’s January 2019 total day rating of total viewers – 1.32 million – was down from January 2018 by 11%.  Primetime total viewers – 2.2 million – was also down 10%, year over year.  For both total day and primetime in January 2019, FNC’s 25-54 viewers were down 20% from last year.

iHeartMedia Announces Ohio Management Promotions. Two sales pros rise at iHeartMedia as Jeff Rovinsky is promoted from his vice president of sales position at iHeartMedia North Ohio to market president for the Akron and Canton markets.  At the same time, Matt Razzante is upped from his account executive position with the company’s Cleveland station group to general sales manager for the Akron, Canton, and Cleveland markets.  iHeartMedia North Ohio SVP of sales George Allen comments, “I could not be more excited for Jeff and Matt.  Jeff has a proven track record of success with iHeartMedia and he will excel as market president for Akron and Canton.  Matt has demonstrated tremendous leadership abilities and this elevated role is well earned. Congratulations to both of them.”

Border Wall Battle, Trump-Russia Investigation, North Korea-Iran Report, U.S.-China Trade War-Huawei Allegations, Brokaw ‘Hispanic Assimilation’ Controversy, Record Cold Hits Midwest, 2020 Presidential Candidates, the AOC Movement, Venezuela Unrest, and Super Bowl LIII Build-Up Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). The political battle over President Trump’s plan for a U.S.-Mexico border wall; the indictment of Trump adviser Roger Stone and the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation; the U.S. military intelligence report indicating North Korea still has active nuclear weapons projects and that Iran is not trying to build a bomb; the U.S.-China trade war and the charges against Huawei and CEO Meng Wanzhou; the controversy over newsman Tom Brokaw’s statement that Hispanics in the U.S. should try harder to assimilate; the record cold hitting the U.S. Midwest today; the 2020 presidential candidates; the attention being paid to freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist policies; the political unrest in Venezuela; and the build-up to Super Bowl LIII 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. A third personality joins the Westwood One-syndicated Ty Bentli country morning show based at Cumulus Media’s NASH campus.  Tricia Jenkins will join Bentli and co-host Chuck Wicks in mid-February.  She was most recently the midday personality and music director at Entercom’s country KMNB, Minneapolis.  Late last year, Kelly Ford exited the formerly named “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” show and it was renamed the Ty Bentli show.  Ford is back in NYC as morning host on Cumulus’ WNSH “NASH FM 94.7.”  Speaking about Tricia Jenkins, Bentli says, “TJ is one of the most amazing women I know. Her value goes beyond the magic she will bring on-air with the Ty Bentli show – she’s hilariously honest, strategically focused, and innately curious about others.  Tricia Jenkins, welcome to the Music City!”…..Quad Cities morning duo “Dwyer & Michaels” – Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels – re-sign with Townsquare Media’s classic rock WXLP “97X” to continue hosting their program through 2023…..The Envision Networks-syndicated program “The Country Oldies Show” is celebrating its 25th anniversary.  The program was launched by host Steve Warren in 1994 from studios in New York City.  Warren says, “I guess when we first started the show, the country music world had tilted toward all the ‘hot, young, new’ artists.  It was crazy.  Since I started in country radio very young, my career was parallel to many of the superstars of an earlier era. Now, every week, as I sit in our studio to produce the show, I feel like I’m in the company of old friends.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

| January 29, 2019

Zellner Promoted to President of Programming Operations at iHeartMedia’s National Programming Group. The company says that Jon Zellner is moving up from his EVP of programming operations to president of programming operations for its national programming group.  In this new role he’ll continue to manage the division’s operations, “ensuring that iHeartMedia’s 850 local radio station brands in 150 markets are able to best utilize the company’s unparalleled national resources.  In addition to managing iHeartMedia custom programming, daily connection to the local markets, on-air partner integration and event broadcast operations, Zellner will also now partner with other divisions within the company to expand programming technology and provide key support to iHeartMedia’s national team of programmers at market-leading radio brands that serve more than a quarter of a billion listeners a month in the U.S.”  iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman says, “Jon’s leadership in the growth of our custom programming and providing the delivery of our at scale national resources to our markets for their use at the local level has been invaluable to our company. We are excited that he’ll be taking on an even larger role in our company-wide programming initiatives.”

Tori Kahl Named Market Manager for iHeartMedia New Orleans. Radio sales pro Tori Kahl moves from iHeartMedia’s Mobile-Pensacola cluster where she was SVP of sales to New Orleans where she is the new market president for the station group that includes news/talk WRNO-FM sports talk WODT-AM plus six music radio outlets.   iHeartMedia area president for Baton Rouge and New Orleans Michael Hudson says, “iHeartMedia is big on promoting our super stars within the company.  Tori has done an incredible job growing our Mobile properties and its employees.  I have no doubt that Tori Kahl will do great things for the New Orleans market.”  Kahl comments, “As I join the iHeartMedia New Orleans team, I am humbled to have the opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented professionals in the industry, representing the power of iHeartMedia and the heritage of our brands in the market.  The city of New Orleans, its culture, and its people are unparalleled.  I am born and raised in Louisiana – it feels good to be home!”

News Anchor Kim Gordon Moves to PM Drive on WGN, Chicago. Twelve-year WGN news staffer Kim Gordon is named the new afternoon drive news anchor at Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago.  The station says, “Gordon will assume a role as both a leader in the WGN Radio news room and an essential voice on ‘The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes.’”  WGN director of news and operations Stephanie Tichenor adds, “For more than a decade at WGN, Kim has been a key player in our newsroom and in our hallways. Her ability to gather and deliver news with a Chicago filter makes her the best voice for our afternoon drive team.”  Gordon started her career at legendary Louisville news/talk station WHAS.

A.J. Hoffman Appointed KFNC-FM, Houston PD. At sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston “ESPN 97.5,” A.J. Hoffman is promoted to program director.  Hoffman currently co-hosts the Gow Media station’s afternoon drive program, “The Blitz,” with Fred Faour – a duty he will continue in addition to his new programming responsibilities.   WFNC general manager Todd Farquharson says, “We are excited to elevate AJ to the PD position.  He has demonstrated excellent programming instincts and we think his experiences and leadership abilities make him a natural for this opportunity.” Farquharson says “ESPN 97.5FM” has grown significantly over the past two years.  “In a competitive Houston landscape, the station has finished #1 for M25-54 nearly every month of 2018.  In the fall of 2017, we committed to a nearly all local lineup.  We were able to bring back Lance Zierlein, reuniting John [Granato]and Lance in the mornings, and insert Charlie Pallilo in middays.  With this talented group, our audience totals are up 50% year-over-year.”

Former WBAL-AM Morning Host Dave Durian Dies at 72.  Former longtime WBAL-AM, Baltimore news and morning drive personality Dave Durian died yesterday (1/28) at 72 after suffering complications from cancer and a stroke.  The Baltimore Sun’s obituary chronicles his career, especially his time at WBAL.  The Iowa native arrived in Baltimore in 1982 as an anchor at WBAL-TV.  After three years there, worked in public TV before returning to Hearst as morning talk show host for WBAL-AM.  WBAL morning news anchor John Patti is quoted saying, “He was the smoothest reader of the news I’ve ever met.  He could read it cold — you could give him a piece of news copy and he read it so effortlessly he made it sound like it had been news all morning.”

Border Wall Battle, Trump-Russia Investigation, Frigid Forecast for Midwest, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls-Schultz Considers Run, U.S.-China Trade War-Huawei Allegations, Brokaw ‘Hispanic Assimilation’ Controversy, Venezuela Unrest/Bolton Columbia Note, PG&E Files for Bankruptcy, SAG Awards, and Super Bowl LIII Build-Up Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The political battle in congress over President Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall; the report that Robert Mueller is close to wrapping his Trump-Russia investigation and the indictment of Roger Stone; the record cold set to hit the Midwest; the 2020 Democratic hopefuls and a possible run by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz; the trade tensions between the U.S. and China and the charges against Huawei and CEO Meng Wanzhou; the controversy over newsman Tom Brokaw’s statement that Hispanics in the U.S. should try harder to assimilate; the Venezuelan political crisis and the flap over national security adviser John Bolton’s ‘5,000 troops to Columbia’ note; PG&E files for bankruptcy in the wake of charges filed against it over the recent California wildfires; Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild awards; and the build-up to Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartCountry Festival Acts Announced. The iHeartCountry Festival at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas on Saturday, May 4 will be the sixth edition of the concert event produced by iHeartMedia.  This year, the acts committed to performing include: Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, Dan and Shay, Luke Combs, Little Big TownLauren Alaina, Old Dominion, Chris JansonBobby Bones & The Raging Idiots, and Tenille Townes.  Syndicated personality Bobby Bones will serve as host on the main stage.  He says, “I look forward to the iHeartCountry Festival every year.  It’s always special to have so much of the country music community together in one place, including some really talented new artists we have been supporting on Women of iHeartCountry.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer John E. Kage is named program director at iHeartMedia’s CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party.”  He moves across town from his most recent position as program director for Bonnville’s country KYGO.  Kage says, “I am excited to remain in my adopted home of Denver, Colorado where I have 20 years of deep roots and relationships.  iHeartMedia’s unparalleled platforms provide a tremendous opportunity for present and future growth in a rapidly changing environment.  I look forward to working with my team to help contribute to 95.7 The Party’s ongoing success.”…..The afternoon team of Matty Blake and Nick Stevens exits Entercom’s rock WAAF, Boston and are being replaced – at least on an interim basis – by Bob Hannah.  Blake and Stevens took over the afternoon drive slot in 2017…..Cumulus Media announces that country KHAY, Oxnard-Ventura OM/PD Chris Cox is retiring from the station and the business after a 45-year career.  He’s been with KHAY since 2012 and had worked in numerous markets during his career, including Los Angeles, Houston, Cincinnati, Louisville, and more. Cumulus regional VP Sommer Frisk says, “Oxnard-Ventura-Santa Barbara has been extremely fortunate to have benefited from Chris’s stewardship over the last seven years.  What we will miss about Chris is his dedication, hard work, professionalism and relentless commitment to the success of our cluster.  What we will miss MOST about Chris is his leadership, character and compassion.  We wish him well in his much-deserved retirement.”…..As reported by Chicago media writer Robert FederMelissa McGurren is leaving the traffic reporting department at Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX to begin an expanded role on the “Eric in the Morning with Melissa & Whip” show.  As previously reported, Violeta Podrumedic is leaving WGN-AM to join WTMX as morning drive traffic reporter…..KJCK-FM, Manhattan, Kansas adds Westwood One’s Adam Bomb show to its programming lineup.

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