CBS RADIO Re-Ups KYW, Philly’s Steve Butler. Programmer Steve Butler signs a multi-year contract renewal with CBS RADIO in which he’ll continue to serve as vice president of news programming, and program director of all-news KYW. In his capacity as vice president of news programming and news format captain, Butler advises eight of CBS RADIO’s all-news outlets on on-air and digital content and strategy. In his KYW Newsradio role, he oversees the station’s production and content, as well as the on-air and newsroom staffs. CBS RADIO EVP of programming Chris Oliviero comments, “CBS RADIO continues to be the industry leader in providing many of the nation’s largest cities with the trusted and credible local news and information that millions of listeners depend on day in and day out. Steve’s expertise and influence has helped shape the ongoing success of our iconic, eight all-news stations and will be critical in the continued growth of these brands for years to come. We are thrilled to have him lead in this important position.”
Cumulus Names Tim Shickles to PD Role at Sports WTRX, Flint. At the Cumulus Media operations in Flint, Michigan, the company names August Wallace operations manager for the entire cluster. At the same time, Tim Shickles is promoted to program director for sports talk WTRX “Sports Xtra 1330.” Shickles is also now programming sister country station WFBE “NASH 95.1.” Shickles has been an on-air personality for Cumulus Media Flint for the past seven years and will continue in his on-air role with WFBE. Ed Leick, vice president/market manager Cumulus Media Flint, says, “Cumulus is fortunate to have such incredible talents working in our radio stations across the country and right here in Flint, Michigan. It is my great pleasure to assist in moving these two fine broadcasters to the next level in their careers.”
Remembering Kay Zwerling. One of talk radio’s original partisans and supporters has passed away at the age of 95. For approximately 20 years, Kay Zwerling became a familiar central California on-air talent via Zwerling Broadcasting System talker KSCO, Santa Cruz-Monterey- Salinas, where she would write/voice commentaries on a variety of topics, especially politics and current events. Those short-form features were broadcast several times throughout the day. A compilation of those commentaries was incorporated into a hardcover book, “For KSCO, I’m Kay Zwerling.” She and her husband Bernard encouraged and supported their son Michael’s acquisition of Class B AM KSCO in January 1991. Nearly 18 months ago, KSCO added a 255-watt simulcast on K218CA (104.1). Commenting on his mother, Michael Zwerling states, “She had a fine mind, a great, clear speaking voice, and a special flair to be direct, logical, and concise with her thoughts. Over the years, I had the pleasure to see mom evolve and grow into a most popular and certainly the most admired personality on our family-owned, independent news-talk radio station.” According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Kay Zwerling was the matriarch of a great radio broadcasting family that has made a real difference in the lives of the people of the Monterey Bay region for many decades. She was a savvy business person, locally-renowned author, and articulate on-air commentator. She should also be historically noted as an influential pioneer in advancing the position of women in the radio industry.” Listeners shared their thoughts and memories of Zwerling this past Saturday (1/7) in a two-hour KSCO special (10:00 am – 12:00 noon). Arrangements are pending for a family-only funeral for Kay Zwerling; a public celebration of her life will take place in the spring.
Today on TalkersTV: Consultant Holland Cooke presents a useful New Year’s Resolution – say more with fewer words. He says, “Life has become a wall of noise. In his latest TalkersTV video, he explains that “the best way to cut through the clutter is ‘word economy.’” Viewer warning: HC is a former high school English teacher. See the video in the TalkersTV box in the upper right-hand of this page.
Beasley’s Charlotte Deal Closes. The $24 million radio station deal that transferred ownership of news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM and hot AC WLNK-FM from Beasley Media Group to Entercom has closed. If you remember, Beasley had to divest of some stations in Charlotte after the $240 million acquisition of Greater Media that closed at the end of last year.
The Yappy Tour Rolls Through Providence, RI. The recently published book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016), by veteran talk radio producer Bernadette Duncan, continues to burn up the airwaves. The coast-to-coast book tour rolled through Providence, Rhode Island Friday (1/6) as the author was interviewed by the legendary talk radio personality Dan Yorke for both his local radio (WPRO) and television (Fox 12 and MyRI-TV) shows. (The two are pictured above on the set of the TV show.) Duncan tells TALKERS, “Dan Yorke is an amazing interviewer. He really cuts below the surface and gets to the psychological heart of the topic in an intimate and credible manner. Being on the airwaves of WPRO, which is so richly steeped in radio heritage, was deeply gratifying to me. I am so grateful to the hundreds of broadcasters and thousands of radio enthusiasts who have been giving this book such wonderful support.” Yappy Days recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the Spring of 2017. Duncan has already appeared on more than 50 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Odds & Sods. On its recently acquired St. Louis AM signal KXFN, Salem Media Group debuts a station dedicated to health and wellness branded, “AM 1380 The Pulse.” The former sports talk station was purchased by Salem from Grand Slam Sports LLC’s receiver Detalus for $190,000. Shows airing on the station include “Dr. Asa on Call,” “Dr. Katherine Albrecht,” “The Dr. Daliah Show,” “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie,” and others…..At the Chicago operations of Salem Media Group, Michael Mann adds new duties as his title is expanded to director of sales strategy, broadcast media. Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella comments, “There has been a planned and deliberate ‘march’ since Michael joined us in Chicago which has resulted in consistent and impressive growth.”…..Tomorrow (1/10), Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is joining the “WTMJ Today” early afternoon program for an hour-long segment in which listeners will hear the mayor discuss the news of the day and issues important to him and the community. “WTMJ Today” is co-hosted by WTMJ executive producer for news Erik Bilstad and interim co-hosts including the representative for Wisconsin’s 37th Assembly District, John Jagler.
Deadly Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting, Trump-Intelligence Community Meeting/Russia Hacking Allegations, Future of ObamaCare, Deadly Attack on Israeli Soldiers, Iran’s Rafsanjani Dies, Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards, and NFL Playoff Action Among Top Stories Over the Weekend. The fatal shooting of five travelers at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport; the allegations of Russian hacking of DNC emails and the related story of President-Elect Donald Trump’s contentious relationship with the intelligence community over the matter; the future of the Affordable Care Act and the GOP’s plans to alter the health care legislation; the deaths of four Israeli soldiers in an attack by a Palestinian; the passing of key Iranian Islamic Revolution architect Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; Sunday evening’s Golden Globes Awards; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Harrison Podcast Explores “The Real History of Fake News.” The award-winning, weekly PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” kicks off 2017 with an engaging discussion about fake news with Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) staff writer and senior Delacorte fellow, David Uberti. Uberti recently penned an article in CJR titled, The Real History of Fake News. It traces the long-standing practice of newspapers in America publishing hoaxes, falsehoods and blatantly slanted stories to manipulate public opinion all the way back to the founding of the republic. The fake news phenomenon, now greatly amplified and accelerated by social media and digital technology, was one of the most-discussed issues on news/talk radio this past year and promises to continue to be an area of concern moving forward. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
AJ Lurie Named to Market Manager Role at Beasley Wilmington. Now leading the Wilmington, Delaware duo for Beasley Media Group is AJ Lurie, who is promoted from his most recent position with the company’s Fort Myers-Naples cluster as director of sales. As vice president and market manager, Lurie will oversee the operations of hot AC WJBR and gospel WTMR-AM (licensed to Camden, New Jersey). About his new position, Lurie comments, “I am honored to begin working with the talented team in Wilmington. I have had the privilege of serving for more than a decade with our amazing Fort Myers cluster, which has prepared me for this next step in my career. I want to sincerely thank Bruce Beasley, Brad Beasley and everyone who showed faith in my abilities to move into this market manager position.”
Tim Hattrick Returns to KNIX, Phoenix. The iHeartMedia-owned country station announces that former station personality Tim Hattrick will join its morning show alongside Ben Campbell and Brooke Hoover for the “Tim, Ben & Brooke Show.” Hattrick served with the station as half of the “Tim & Willy Show” with Willy D. Loon from 1998 through 2007. He says, “I’m thrilled to join Ben and Brooke and so honored to come home to KNIX. I look forward to serving Phoenix again and continuing to build upon the legacy that KNIX has built in the community.”
Marc Jason Joins WQYK, Tampa Morning Show. Tampa country outlet WQYK announces air personality Marc Jason joins Veronica Young and Kevin Ebel as the third co-host of the Beasley Broadcast Group station’s morning show. Operations manager Tee Gentry comments, “It’s a great feeling to start this new year with Marc on the ‘QYK morning team with Veronica and Kevin! Marc has been an on-air radio personality in some of America’s biggest and most iconic radio cities, including Nashville, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Washington, DC. We’re definitely hitting the ground running in 2017!”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Changes corporate structure at Cox Media Group mean corporate manager of radio and ratings research Paul Douglas exits the company after a 19 year stint…..Entercom brings Casey Osburn aboard to program hot AC KFBZ, Wichita “105.3 The Buzz.” Osburn, who will also work the afternoon drive shift at KFBZ, was most recently with Eagle Communications at its Hutchinson, Kansas operations…..CBS RADIO St. Louis announces that KEZK ,midday personality Trish Gazall signs a multi-year contract extension with the adult contemporary station. Gazall holds down the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm show that features her unique perspective on entertainment and current events, with a healthy dose of local community information. She also hosts the “Totally ‘80s Lunch” every weekday at noon…..iHeartMedia renews the contracts for the three hosts of the “Bama, Rob and Heather” morning show on country KVET, Austin. iHeartMedia Central Texas region president Breeanna Malik says of the trio, “We are so fortunate to have this amazing team in the iHeartMedia family. They are true Austin celebrities and we know our listeners and sponsors are ecstatic that they will be here for many years to come.”…..United Stations Radio Networks announces that programmer and on-air pro Steve Stewart is the new host of the syndicated country radio show “The Road.” Stewart also serves as PD and midday personality at iHeartMedia’s WEBG, Chicago “Big 95.5.”…..Adult contemporary WHUD-FM, Peekskill, New York (Hudson Valley market) adds the local “Night Rhythms” program hosted by Susan Browning for the evening daypart. Browning has been with the 6 Johnson Road Licenses-owned station on a weekends/fill-in basis for the past six years.
AC Augments Audience in Philly, Tampa, and Dallas. Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes note of the number of new adult contemporary stations signing on in top 20 markets. “The last time a major market station transitioned to adult contemporary was in April 2016, when iHeartMedia San Francisco’s urban-rhythmic oldies KISQ became “The Breeze.” Now that the all-Christmas music has come to an end, however, there are three new players under the AC banner.” He’s referring to “Star 102.1” in Dallas; “Today’s 96.5” in Philly; and “B 98.7” in Tampa. Read his report on these new stations here.
MLB Legend Curt Schilling Launches Talk Show on Breitbart.com. Former Major League Baseball star – and avowed Donald Trump supporter – Curt Schilling is beginning a daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am ET talk show on Breitbart.com today. Schilling made the announcement to Breitbart News Radio’s Matthew Boyle and said the first two weeks of the program will focus on the election and “getting information out to listeners.” Schilling added, “I am joining the Breitbart team for one reason. At the end of the day, when you look at what Breitbart does on a day-in-day-out basis — you can hate all the stories all you want — but, they are backed by sources. They are backed by data. They are backed by facts.” As has been widely reported, Massachusetts resident Schilling has expressed interest in challenging Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren for her seat. Read the Breitbart account here.
CBS RADIO Names Brian McHale SVP, Information Technology. The senior vice president, information technology is a newly created position for CBS RADIO. In this role, Brian McHale will be responsible for building and overseeing the company’s first dedicated information technology team, along with effective technological strategies and infrastructure to support CBS RADIO’s 117 radio stations, digital assets, and the security solutions to protect the company’s multi-platform products. He’ll also build a structure to support the IT needs of the company’s employees at both the enterprise and local market levels. CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez says, “In today’s hyper-digital world, the flow, security and enhancement of information technology is the backbone of any company. Brian has vast experience with developing and implementing world-class IT infrastructures and will lead CBS RADIO to create a superior system that supports every function of our business.” McHale was most recently SVP and chief information officer for American Apparel Inc. He’s also worked with Journal Broadcast Group and Fisher Communications during his career.
Former Philly TV Newscaster Settles with CBS in Email Hacking Case. This matter is apparently finally settled after some eight years of litigation. According to a report at Philly.com, television newscaster Alycia Lane has agreed to a settlement in her suit against CBS just as it was set to go to trial. Lane worked at KYW-TV, Philadelphia with newscaster Larry Mendte, whom she accused of hacking her work email account and then sharing personal details and photos with gossip columnists. Mendte pleaded guilty to the charges and served house arrest and probation, but lost his gig at KYW-TV. He later worked briefly for the Randy Michaels-run Merlin Media talk station WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia and most recently had been hosting mornings at iHeartMedia’s WILM, Wilmington and WDOV, Dover in Delaware. Read the Philly.com account here.
The Presidential Race, U.S. House-Senate Races, Friday’s DNS Cyberattack, AT&T/Time Warner Merger, Cubs to Face Indians in World Series, NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the races for U.S. House and U.S. Senate seats; the DNS cyberattack that affected Internet access in many parts of the country; the announced acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T and the regulatory hurdles the deal faces; the Chicago Cubs’ victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and the team’s first World Series appearance since 1948; and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the top news/talk stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Sonnenklar Appointed COO of Connoisseur Integrated Solutions. Former McGavren-Guild CEO Lisa Sonnenklar joins Connoisseur Media as chief operating officer of the company’s integrated solutions division. In this role, Sonnenklar will oversee the company’s multi-platform efforts in the New York/Connecticut/ New Jersey region. Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw states, “Using our potent mix of radio, digital and event marketing assets, we have been able to get tremendous ROI and visibility for many of our clients. We are now putting even more firepower into these efforts. We are delighted to welcome Lisa into the Connoisseur family.”
Herman Cain Show Goes on the Road to McDonough, Georgia. WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based, syndicated talk personality Herman Cain is on the road on Thursday (10/27) recording his show from the historic McDonough Square in McDonough, Georgia from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm ET. Cox Media Group says the event is free to attend, rain or shine, and will include Cain’s popular “Rapid Fire” segment where he takes questions and comments from the audience and says, “You get a minute…I get a minute.” Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase Trump Cards and an autographed copy of the special edition of Cain’s latest book, The Right Solutions: What the President, Congress, and Every Candidate Should Be Working On.
Odds & Sods. The sports talk format on Flinn Broadcasting’s WHBQ, Memphis is now heard in the Tupelo-Marietta, Mississippi market on Flinn-owned WXWX-FM. WXWX had been leased to Tele-South Communications but that lease expired on August 1…..AdLarge Media signs a deal to serve as the exclusive network radio sales agent for The Weather Channel radio network. The Weather Channel has more than 100 radio station affiliates across the country, including in most of the top 10 markets…..ABC Radio’s podcast division announces a new show called “Popcorn with Peter Travers” – hosted by the well-known Rolling Stone movie critic. Recent episodes include interviews with Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro, Margo Martindale and John Krasinski…..ESPN Radio is providing exclusive national radio coverage of the 112th Major League Baseball World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, beginning with game 1 from Progressive Field in Cleveland tomorrow night (10/25).
Dave Ramsey Welcomed by Houston Fans. Pictured above is nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey taking the stage in Houston at Grace Community Church on Saturday (10/22) before a packed house. During this stop on the Smart Money 2016 tour, Ramsey presented a day-long Smart Conference that included appearances from Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker, Inky Johnson, Chris Brown and Anthony O’Neal in which they presented attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate KSEV to promote the event. KSEV general manager Bonny English comments, “Thanks to our partnership with the Dave Ramsey show, the KSEV audience gets to experience one-of-a-kind events right here in Houston. Every time we host a Ramsey live event, our clients and listeners get the unique opportunity to spend quality time with Dave!”
San Antonio Radio Legend Ricci Ware Passes at 79. Legendary San Antonio DJ and radio personality Ricci Ware died on Friday (10/21) at age 79. Ware – the father of KTSA morning personality Trey Ware – started his radio career as a disc jockey spinning the hits and transitioned to a talk show host during his 50-plus year career. Ware began in radio in Baytown, Texas and then moved to Austin where he worked for KTBC. From there he moved to KTSA in San Antonio and gained a reputation as one of the market’s most popular DJs during the 1960s. After leaving KTSA and working at KBUC where he was co-host of the popular “Ricci and Jud” show, he returned to KTSA to launch his talk radio career. Son Trey Ware says in a statement, “My hero returned home to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this morning. My dad, Ricci Ware was my hero in every sense of the word. He was the greatest father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who ever lived. He never met a stranger, and always had a kind word and a smile for others. God put him here to bring joy to this life, and he did it so very well.”
KSPN, Los Angeles Revamps Programming; Live and Local Lineup Launches September 21. Rumors about these changes have been leaking for a week or so but now ESPN reports the official changes for O&O KSPN “ESPNLA 710AM.” These alterations to the current schedule also line up in more traditional dayparts. First, the 5:00 am to 7:00 am “Kelvin & Travis” show is gone and the all new “Mornings with Keyshawn, Jorge and LZ” airs in the 6:00 am to 9:00 am slot with Keyshawn Johnson, Jorge Sedano and LZ Granderson. While it appears that Travis Rodgers is off the station, Kelvin Washington moves to afternoons – 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm – with incumbent Marcellus Wiley (Wiley went solo after partner Max Kellerman joined the company’s ESPN2 for the “First Take” show). The current “Thompson & Trudell” program expands by an hour, airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. “Mason & Ireland (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) and “ESPNLA Rewind” (7:00 pm to 9:00 pm) remain in their current positions. The 9:00 pm to 6:00 am block will feature ESPN Radio Network programming. Station VP/GM Scott McCarthy comments, “With an extremely powerful all live-and-local lineup, we are ensuring that ESPNLA continues to be the destination station for Los Angeles-area sports fans. Fans want context and analysis after our L.A. teams play, and our local focus – especially in morning drive – will super-serve them with the best in L.A. sports talk.”
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations that serve as flagships for Major League Baseball based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2016 PPM survey. In this report you’ll find charts listing: stations by format and (6+) AHQ share; ratings fluctuations from July 2016 to August 2016; ratings fluctuations from August 2015 to August 2016; and how stations ranked in their respective markets. See it all here.
Cumulus Media Files with SEC to Ask Shareholders for Reverse Stock Split. This move is an effort to get Cumulus stock above the $1 threshold on the NASDAQ so it doesn’t get delisted. If shareholders agree, it would set the company on course to try to get far fewer shares of class A, B, and C stock trading at a higher price. Under the 1 for 8 split, shareholders would get one share for every eight they own. If the Reverse Stock Split is effected it would mean the number of authorized shares of Class A Common Stock goes from 750,000,000 to 93,750,000, of Class B Common Stock from 600,000,000 to 75,000,000 and of Class C Common Stock from 644,871 to 80,609. The shareholders with the most stock in Cumulus include Crestview Radio Investors holding 30.2% of Class A stock; Lew Dickey, Jr. with 11.2%; and Greywolf Event Driven Master Fund with 5.5%. Lew Dickey owns 100% of the Class C stock.
Genuine Austin Radio to Buy Sports Duo KTXX-FM/KLGO-AM ‘The Horn.’ The sports talk duo branded “The Horn” – KTXX-FM and KLGO-AM in Austin – is being sold to Bob Cole-led Genuine Austin Radio, LLC for an undisclosed sum. Genuine has been operating the stations under an LMA and will continue to do so until the sale closes. The seller is Total Austin Sports Radio, LLC. The stations are the home of the University of Texas Longhorns sports as well as other local and regional sports franchises. Broker on the transaction is DEFcom Advisors, LLC which represents the seller.
WYSL, Rochester Personality and New York State Assemblyman Bill Nojay Dead at 59. The cause of death was an apparent suicide for Republican New York State Assemblyman, attorney, and radio talk show host Bill Nojay. According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Nojay apparently took his own life at his family’s cemetery plots in the Rochester area on Friday (9/9), the same day he was to appear in federal court to answer to fraud charges related to a trust fund he managed in his capacity as an attorney. He was also running for re-election for his assembly seat. Nojay hosted the 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm daily talk program on Radio Livingston-owned WYSL, Rochester/W221CL “Newspower 1040.”
The Presidential Race/Clinton Health Concerns, 9/11 Anniversary, North Korea Nuke Test, Samsung Note 7 Troubles, Friday’s Dow Dip, NFL Season Opens, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, especially Clinton’s abrupt exit from 9/11 ceremonies and news of her pneumonia diagnosis; the anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001; North Korea’s announcement of a successful nuclear weapon test; Samsung’s recall of the popular Galaxy Note 7 and reports of fires caused by exploding batteries; The Dow drops almost 400 points on Friday over concerns about interest rate hikes; the 2016 NFL season opens and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. A deal between CBS Sports Radio and Westwood One has the latter serving as the exclusive ad sales rep for the new “Jim Rome’s Daily Jungle” podcast that launched back in August on the iTunes and Play.It platforms. WW1 is selling endorsements, live reads, pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll advertisements…..The nationally syndicated “Joe Pags Show” announces a number of recently added affiliates to the WOAI, San Antonio-based program. Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo reports that his roster now numbers 66 stations across the country, including: KUIK, Portland; WAVL, Latrobe, Pennsylvania; WHBY, Appleton, Wisconsin; WAAM, Ann Arbor, Michigan; WJNT, Jackson, Mississippi; WATT, Cadillac, Michigan; WMKT, Charlevoix, Michigan; WHIR, Danville, Kentucky.
On the Road Again. With coverage of Campaign 2016 in full gear, the Salem Radio Network talk hosts – including Mike Gallagher, Hugh Hewitt, and Dennis Prager – are hitting the road “to rally conservative voters in battleground states like Colorado, Ohio and Pennsylvania.” Pictured here on the Great America PAC bus en route to a rally in Orlando, Florida today (9/12) are (from l-r): Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Prager, Hewitt, and actor Jon Voight.
Cool NewsRadio Morning Drive Opportunity. Delaware’s NewsRadio 1450 and 1410 (WILM-AM and WDOV-AM) in Wilmington, Delaware is looking for a morning host to take them to the next level on their spoken-word stations. The right candidate will have a contagious personality with 3 years or more experience doing spoken-word formats. You’ll live the target listener lifestyle and have a successful track record in growing ratings and revenue as an “ambassador in our community.” You’ll be known on a first-name basis with their local business owners, politicians and non-profits. You’ll engage listeners on important subjects, on-air, with a sense of responsibility to inform and entertain. And, you’ll love meeting listeners at station promotions and non-profit or civic events. If this sounds like you, you will love iHeartMedia in Delaware. They work hard and play harder, all the while being so close to beaches, bays, big cities and breathtaking getaways. If you are a sports fanatic, you will love living on the I-95 corridor surrounded by three major markets with easy access to dozens of college and professional sports teams. They offer a modest salary with exceptional opportunities to supplement your pay, a good health and benefit package, excellent facilities with a support team ready to help you win! If this sounds like your next step, send your “zipped” package (MP3, resume and cover letter) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. iHeartMedia is an Equal Opportunity Employer. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE!
Logan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.
Nielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.
Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver. For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.” Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue. On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry. Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game. Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!” Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984. I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.” Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package. He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.” KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season. And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others. When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic. He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.” He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver. For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week. GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed. According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack. To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.
Salem Radio Network Presents ‘National Town Meeting’ on Police and Race Issues. This “national town meeting” will be a local and national simulcast with KSKY, Dallas morning personality Mark Davis and Salem Radio Network syndicated personality Mike Gallagher and will air tomorrow (6/11) from 9:00 am to 12:000 noon ET. Salem says, “In the wake of recent high-profile incidents including urban riots in Baltimore and last weekend’s suburban ‘pool party’ controversy in McKinney, Texas, Gallagher and Davis…will co-anchor an SRN National Town Meeting on minority/police relations in America. Gallagher adds, “We hope this SRN National Town Meeting will continue a nationwide dialogue on why so many recent incidents have been magnified by the issue of race, and also produce solid answers on how we can all — Americans of all colors and creeds — move forward together as a society.”
Cox Media Group’s Orlando Stations to Produce ‘Unity in the Community.’ Both news/talk WDBO “News 96.5” and urban contemporary WCFB “Star 94.5” in Orlando will simulcast a special program called “Unity in the Community: A Live Discussion About the Current Role of Both Law Enforcement and Citizens in our Communities” tonight at 7:00 pm. The program will feature a panel of experts to share what law enforcement is doing in Central Florida, and answer questions from concerned citizens. They will discuss the roles and responsibilities of both law enforcement and citizens when dealing with each other. Panelists will include: Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demmings, Orlando Police Chief John Mina, Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith, former Chief Judge Belvin Perry, and Crimeline executive director Barb Bergen. The panel discussion will be co-moderated by WDBO’s Joe Kelley and WCFB’s Monica May.
USA Radio Networks to Syndicate Kevin Jackson Show. The Kevin Jackson program is being syndicated live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET by USA Radio Networks, beginning July 20. The young, black conservative contributes to Breitbart, Human Events, and American Thinker and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity, “The Factor with Bill O’Reilly” and MSNBC. He is the author of The Big Black Lie (Black Sphere 2009) and Sexy Brilliance and Other Political Lies (FastPencil Wavecrest 2011). On his new relationship, Jackson comments, “I’m happier than a tornado in a trailer park to be part of the USA Radio Networks family, and can’t wait to take on Rush Limbaugh. Conservative talk radio has needed new blood for some time, and I’m just happy to know a vampire. America will get something different, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring it.” USA Radio Networks chief content officer Tim Maranville says, “Kevin blurs the lines that have so divided our country yet does it in a way that creates a conversation about solutions. Plus he’s wicked funny!”
Larry Mendte Named Morning Host at WILM, Wilmington. Former longtime Philadelphia TV news anchor and radio host Larry Mendte is named morning drive personality at iHeartMedia’s Delaware news/talk stations WILM, Wilmington and WDOV, Dover. Company regional market president Chris Walus states, “Larry is an extraordinary talent who has the unique ability to engage audiences across all demographics. He has an impressive record of success in Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Diego. Delaware listeners will be incredibly impressed with his ability to connect, engage and inform.” In addition to his work in Philadelphia, Mendte has served at 77WABC in New York; “Access Hollywood” in Los Angeles, WBBM-TV and WLS-AM in Chicago.
‘105 The Ticket’ in Minneapolis Drops Local Talk. Ousted local radio personality Bob Sansevere tells the Pioneer Press that the Cumulus Media-owned trimulcast of WGVX, WRXP, and WGVZ – branded as “105 The Ticket” – wasn’t able to put up a ratings fight against the sports talk competition in the market and that’s probably why his show and “Radioactive Sports” with Mike Morris and Ben Holsen were canceled. The station is now airing the entire slate of CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
WCHV, Charlottesville Talk Host Joe Thomas’ Morning Show Simulcast on Television Outlet. The “Joe Thomas in the Morning” program on WCHV, Charlottesville, Virginia is now being simulcast on Gray Television’s “all-local, all-the-time Newsplex Now” channel. Thomas, who also serves as program director for Monticello Media-owned WCHV, comments, “I was told back in the Bayside (NY) High School TV studio that I should go into radio because I would never be happy in television since I would never be able to have the irreverent fun I displayed in class. It took 32 years, but I’m going to prove my teacher wrong!” Thomas says he’s also on the lookout for short-form video content that could be included in the TV broadcast to create a unique viewer experience. Reach out to him with suggestions at email@example.com.
Odds & Sods. The Los Angeles Lakers and ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles announce they have agreed to an extension of their radio play-by-play deal through the 2021-22 season. “ESPNLA” will carry all 82 regular-season games as well as the entire preseason and every playoff game. John Ireland will continue as the play-by-play commentator for the Lakers radio broadcasts, with Laker great Mychal Thompson remaining as the color analyst. Both are ESPNLA personalities – Ireland co-hosts the “Mason and Ireland” show and Thompson co-hosts the “Thompson and Trudell” program…..TheBlaze Radio Network’s Buck Sexton fills in for Rush Limbaugh on the Premiere Networks syndicated program today (6/10). TheBlaze says Sexton is the only personality who has guest hosted for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.
Syndicated Talk Host Danielle Lin Takes Show to India. Dynamic health and lifestyle talker Danielle Lin took her syndicated radio talk show, “The Art of Living and the Science of Life,” to Bangalore, India reporting on the new trend of “Medical Tourism.” She tells TALKERS, “Going global makes perfect sense in a podcast world. I have discovered first hand that international expansion is not only lucrative…it’s essential in a digital world. With a strong list of sponsors primed from US relations, linking countries like India was a natural fit for expanding my US brand. The money flows in both directions as companies create bonds by targeting niche markets. By producing valuable content on the national platform, we were able to translate the same conversation with the growing middle market in Bangalore. We started early enough in our planning to build a base that would connect us to a worldwide listenership.” Lin adds, “The local and international conversations are relevant to everyone when it comes to improving life.” Lin (second from left) is pictured here with the leading Ayurvedic physcians at AyurVAID Hospital in Bangalore.
Texas Pool Party Incident, ISIS Military Progress/U.S. Iraq Policy, Obama Trade Deal, New York Prison Break, News from Apple WWDC, Bilderberg Group/G7 Meetings, Caitlyn Jenner Case, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/9). The fallout from a police officer’s actions at a Texas pool party; the continuing success of ISIS in Iraq and questions about the U.S. military’s policy in Iraq; the TTP trade deal and concerns over lack of understanding of what the pact contains; the search for two convicted murderers who escaped from a New York prison; news of the new digital music platform from Apple from the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference; questions about future global policies as the Bilderberg Group meets in Austria and the G7 summit takes place; ongoing chatter about the Caitlyn Jenner case and transgender issues; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland Resigns from WTIC, Hartford Show as New Corruption Probe Intensifies. The former Connecticut governor resigned from office in 2004 amidst corruption charges to which he eventually pleaded guilty and served 10 months in federal prison. He began a talk show host career on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford in 2010 – for the first two years with co-host Pastor Will Marotti of the New Life Church in Meriden before going solo – but now that gig is over as Rowland stepped down yesterday without addressing the new allegations. The Hartford Courant reports that testimony from local businessman Brian Foley and his wife, Lisa Wilson-Foley (a former congressional candidate) stated in federal court that they used a phony consulting contract with Rowland to pay him for political assistance to Wilson-Foley’s failed 2012 campaign. Rowland faces possible indictment by a grand jury. WTIC program director Jenneen Lee tells the paper Pastor Will Marotti will step into the afternoon drive slot beginning Monday. Read the entire Courant piece here.
Big Changes at KARN-FM, Little Rock; PM Driver Dave Elswick Out along with AM Drive’s Bob Steel and ND. Longtime afternoon drive personality and program director Dave Elswick announces via Facebook that he’s out at Cumulus Media’s KARN-FM, Little Rock. Here’s his post: “I ask for your prayers tonight. After nearly 14 years on KARN I was fired by Cumulus Media. Bob Steel and news director Jack Heintz were also fired. I have no idea what will be on the station tomorrow. Know that I love every one of you who have supported me over these years. God Bless.” There were rumors of change at the news/talk outlet swirling but nothing concrete had been put out. As of now, the KARN-FM website lists the AM and PM drive dayparts generically. It’s possible Cumulus is clearing the afternoon deck to move Michael Savage into a live slot from the current late night delayed broadcast.
Criticism of Mets Infielder’s Paternity Leave Reversed as WFAN’s Boomer Esiason Apologizes. The decision by New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy to miss two games to be with his wife in Florida after she delivered their son on Opening Day was a hot topic of conversation on New York sports talk radio and both WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa and morning drive co-host Boomer Esiason opined that two games was too many to miss. But during the initial chatter, Esiason said that he’d have asked his wife to schedule a C-section in order to be with his teammates for the games. The MLB CBA allows for up to three days of paternity leave. Esiason apologized on WFAN’s morning show today (4/4), calling his comments “insensitive” and expressing contrition for having put the Murphy family’s personal lives “under a spotlight.” He also said his C-section comment was not intended to mean he was telling women what to do with their bodies.
Nielsen Audio Quantifies the Obvious: Opening Day Is Big for Radio. What’s well known to radio practitioners is put into numbers by Nielsen Audio from this season’s Opening Day. While baseball – from a ratings standpoint – will be good to most MLB flagships this year, some of the Opening Day numbers are truly spectacular. In Cincinnati, flagship WLW pulled a 46.6 share with Men 25-54 on a 12+ cume of 270,700. Also, it’s interesting to note the difference in cume and share from the Cubs at Pirates broadcasts where the woebegone Cubs fans in Chicago didn’t appear to have the same passion (via radio, anyway) as the recharged Bucs backers in Pittsburgh. Check out the data here.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network Reports Streaming Success. The digital side of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network reports that it makes its debut as one of the top 20 most-listened-to streams in America, according to Triton Digital‘s February 2014 ranker. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “When we launched TheBlaze Radio Network in January 2013 we did so with the goal of being one of the top online radio stations in America. In our first month of accredited measurement, it is exciting to see our single stream on the same list as these established multi-stream services.”
Entercom Boston Boosts Mozdiez to Director of Integrated Media Strategies. It is a position the cluster specifically crafts for Carlson Mozdiez, who is elevated from director of digital operations. New responsibilities for the Syracuse University graduate include developing/executing customer-facing brand messaging, including live events, contesting and promotions, external advertising, websites, video, and social media. Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Phil Zachary comments, “Streamlining our ever-expanding array of digital and marketing channels, which connect the most valuable radio consumers in New England to our brands and our advertisers, makes logistical sense. Carlson is the ideal leader to spearhead these innovative efforts.” Mozdiez remarks that, “It is an exciting time as we continue to develop and optimize the ways people interact with our stations while creating new means for advertisers to access our audiences.” Entercom Boston consists of rock WAAF, sports WEEI-FM, sports WEEI-AM, news/talk WRKO, the Boston Red Sox Radio Network and their respective web properties. Mozdiez joined Entercom in 2002 as promotion coordinator for WEEI and WRKO.
Dennis Miller Celebrates Radio Anniversary. Today marks the seventh anniversary of entertainer Dennis Miller’s nationally syndicated WestwoodOne radio program. The “Saturday Night Live” alum is commemorating the day with special guests including: Mark Steyn, nationally syndicated columnist and author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon; Bob Saget, comedian and author of Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian; Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky; David Spade, comedian; Frank Sinatra Jr.; and fellow SNL alum Dana Carvey.
KDKA-AM’s Larry Richert to Be Roasted for Charity. Pittsburgh talk radio personality Larry Richert – co-host of the “KDKA Morning News on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA” will be the guest of honor at a Roast & Toast on Friday, April 25 to be roasted and toasted by friends and co-workers to benefit the Roxsan Betters Albanese Foundation. This foundation helps financially challenged families with children who are terminally ill or face a life threatening situation. Fellow KDKA-AM talk host Rob Pratte will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
Odds & Sods. When Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” hits the air tonight, WTAG, Worcester morning drive talk show host Paul Westcott will be in the host chair. Westcott has become a regular fill-in for Dean when he’s away…..This weekend’s NCAA Final Four is being covered by SiriusXM. The satcaster says it’ll offer subscribers comprehensive coverage of this weekend’s action plus analysis on the College Sports Nation channel from hoops experts such as three-time ACC Coach of the Year Bobby Cremins, Hall of Fame Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves, former Villanova and UMass coach Steve Lappas, former University of Vermont coach Tom Brennan, plus Tim Brando, Mark Packer, Chris Childers and Jason Horowitz…..Birach Broadcasting’s sports talker KXRQ, Des Moines announces it’s the newest affiliate for Kansas City Royals baseball play-by-play……Sunrise Broadcasting strikes an agreement with Sea-Comm Media to use the latter’s translator W240AS, Wilmington at 95.9 FM to augment the signal of its sports talk WMFD “ESPN Wilmington,” heard on 630 AM.
ObamaCare Criticism Remains Atop Talkers TenTM. The major political issue of the past year – the passage of the Affordable Care Act – continues to be one of the top news/talk radio stories and was again the most-talked-about topic this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 this week was the deadly Fort Hood Shooting. At #3 was the looming mid-term elections tied with the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential election, and at #4 was this week’s Supreme Court campaign donation ruling. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Townsquare Announces Stations Acquisition; Deal Worth Approximately $281 Million. Townsquare Media, LLC announces that it has executed definitive documentation related to three transactions with Cumulus Media Holdings, Inc. and Peak II Holding LLC which, upon consummation, will result in Townsquare acquiring assets including 71 radio stations in 15 markets. After the deal is consummated, Townsquare will own 312 radio stations in 66 markets and have operations in 25 states, making it the third largest owner of radio stations in the United States and the largest, “best-capitalized owner and operator of radio stations solely focused on small and mid-sized markets.” In a press release this morning, Townsquare reports it is acquiring assets including 53 radio stations (three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust) in 12 markets (Battle Creek; Cedar Rapids; Danbury, Connecticut; Faribault-Owatonna, Minnesota; Kalamazoo; Lansing; Portland, Maine; Portsmouth-Dover-Rochester, New Hampshire; Quad Cities; Rochester, Minnesota; Rockford, Illinois; and Waterloo, Iowa) from Cumulus for cash. Townsquare is also acquiring Peak, which owns assets including 11 radio stations in two markets (Boise and Fresno) for cash and equity units of Townsquare. Finally, Townsquare will exchange certain assets including five radio stations, in Fresno it is acquiring from Peak, for Cumulus assets including 15 radio stations in two markets (Dubuque and Poughkeepsie) and a de minimis cash settle-up payment in favor of Townsquare. In total, Townsquare will be acquiring 68 stations from Cumulus, three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust, and eleven Peak stations, five of which will be exchanged to Cumulus, resulting in a net increase of 71 stations. Townsquare expects to finance the transactions with a mix of secured and unsecured debt financing, Townsquare equity units and cash on hand. Townsquare has received debt financing commitments from its various financing partners in connection with the transactions and will complete its financing in compliance with the covenant package of Townsquare Radio, LLC’s existing Senior Unsecured Notes indenture. “These transactions represent the continued evolution of Townsquare Media into one of the nation’s largest local media companies and allow us to reach a scale which opens the door to new strategic opportunities,” comments Townsquare Chairman and CEO, Steven Price. “The assets we are adding to our portfolio are market leading brands with strong competitive positions in their respective small and mid-sized markets. We are excited by the opportunity to deploy our differentiated local-media strategy across a broader footprint in order to better serve our communities and our advertising clients.”
Cumulus Announces Expected Dial Global Acquisition. Cumulus Media Inc. issues a press release this morning announcing “a series of strategic transactions that solidifies the company’s position as a leading producer of high-quality content and continues to reshape its footprint focused on the top 100 markets.” The transactions announced today include:
• Acquisition of Dial Global, Inc. for $260 million in cash (consisting of approximately $45 million attributable to equity and the retirement of $215 million of debt)
• Sale of 53 radio stations in 12 small and mid-sized markets to Townsquare Media for $238 million in cash (inclusive of the acquisition of net working capital)
• Swap with Townsquare Media of 15 radio stations in two small & mid-sized markets in exchange for the receipt of five stations in Fresno, CA (market #68)
“These transactions give us the necessary scale to provide the marketing and enterprise solutions our advertising and affiliate partners require,” said Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus. “Our goal is to be the leading producer of premium audio content distributed through multiple platforms while continuing to build our broadcast platform in the top 100 U.S. markets.”
The acquisition of Dial Global will add sports, news, talk, music and programming services content – enabling Cumulus to provide a wider variety of options to approximately 10,000 U.S. radio stations, other media platforms and international platforms. New content acquired through the Dial Global acquisition will include NFL, NCAA, NASCAR, Olympics, AP Radio News, NBC News and other popular programming. Cumulus expects the transaction to be deleveraging based upon identified cost synergies of approximately $40 million, with additional upside from revenue growth potential through the creation of new content vehicles for broadcast radio advertisers. Additionally, Cumulus believes the opportunity exists to distribute premium, curated audio content across emerging new media platforms. Further, Cumulus intends to service broadcasters’ demands for premium content and enterprise solutions in Europe, the Americas and Australia.
WGN, Chicago Announces New Lineup. Yesterday (8/29), TALKERS reported the reuniting of Chicago radio personalities Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Now, the station issues a release detailing the programming changes – some of which were reported a few weeks ago – that take place on Tuesday, September 3. As reported earlier, Steve Cochran assumes morning drive duties; he’s followed by Wendy & Bill from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; husband and wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano (pictured at left) air from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Garry Meier continues to host the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. David Kaplan maintains his 7:00 pm show start but wraps at 11:00 pm when Pete McMurray, who expands his role with the station, starts hosting the 11:00 pm to 2:00 am program. As reported earlier this week, Nick Digilio becomes a full-time host with the station on the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot. Weekends are spotlighted by the return of Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (pictured lower right) to the station in the Saturday 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot beginning September 14. Other changes include: “The Design Dude with Frank Fontana” airing from 6:00 am to 7:00 am, followed by “Mr. Fix-it with Lou Manfredini” from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. When not affected by sports preemptions, Bill Moller will follow Kathy and Judy from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Sports Central” will remain in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot. The Sunday lineup will introduce a new show dedicated to the discussion of the Chicago political landscape. Chicago Tribune writer Rick Pearson will host “Chicago Way: Politics with Pearson” on Sundays from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. “The Dean Richards Sunday Special” will follow at 9:00 am, extending an additional two hours until 1:00 pm. In addition to his Saturday show, Bill Moller will air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Brian Noonan remains in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot, followed by the return of Chicago treasure, Rick Kogan, from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Comedian and media personality, Patti Vasquez, will air from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am. Playing a feature role in the future of WGN’s new lineup will be “720 Snackables.” These spotlight segments will live online and on-air as interviews, video shorts, and podcasts. They’ll feature the WGN family of experts including Dean Richards’ “A-List Interviews,” “Legally Speaking with Karen Conti,” “Bertrand on Books” with Steve Bertrand, “Flavor HD” with Hannah Stanley & Dane Neal, “Steve Dale’s Pet World,” Paul Green’s “Paul & The Politicians,” “Good Cents with Ilyce Glink,” and more.
Chris Carl New RTDNA Chair. WDEL, Wilmington, Delaware director of news and programming Chris Carl is the new chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association. Pictured here is outgoing chair Vince Duffy of Michigan Radio (l) passing the gavel to Carl (r). Carl notes that for the first time in the organization’s history, the RTNDF chairman, RTDNA chairman and RTDNA chair-elect are all radio people as Duffy moves to the Foundation chair for the next year, and the membership elects Amy Tardif of WGCU-FM, Fort Myers as the chair-elect.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to make regular appearances on CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan.” Every Tuesday he’ll join the “Vinnie & Cook” show at 11:00 am…..Guaranty Broadcasting’s KYPY, Baton Rouge flips from classic country to a simulcast of sister sports talk WNXX “104.5 ESPN”…..New Jersey Devils hockey will continue to be heard on CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM and beyond. The club signs a new, multi-year deal with the station to keep games on for the ninth straight season beginning in October…..Clear Channel moves Portland Trailblazers basketball from news/talk KEX to sister sports talk KPOJ for the coming season to avoid preemptions…..Bob Smith retires from his post as host of “1370 Connection” at pubcaster WXXI, Rochester, New York after a 25-plus-year career with the station. Smith suffered a stroke in April and is still undergoing rehabilitative care.
More Than $3.3 Million Raised in Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. Entercom sports radio WEEI and regional cable sports channel NESN have teamed up for 12 years to air a two-day radio-telethon to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. This week’s event helped raise more than $3.3 million – about the same amount raised the year prior. This puts the 12-year total at more than $34 million. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown states, “The outstanding generosity of our listeners across New England year after year not only supports a great cause but betters the lives of those who need it most. These past two days have been the most emotionally rewarding for the entire WEEI and Entercom Boston family this year. We remain both humbled and thrilled to have played a role in helping the selfless team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in their fight against cancer.” A check was presented at last night’s Red Sox game. Pictured (from l-r) are: Red Sox owner John Henry, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, Entercom Boston VP/market manager Jeff Brown, Jimmy Fund director Suzanne Fountain, WEEI executive producer Joe Zarbano, WEEI director of marketing Adam Ralston, NESN president Sean McGrail, and Wally the Green Monster.
Wilmington, NC Sports Talk Show Adds Saturday Edition. The weekly “Sports Connection” show hosted by Port City Daily sports writer Joe Catenacci adds a Saturday edition that begins a run on Sea-Comm-owned rock WBNE, Wilmington “103.7 The Bone.” Joe Cat’s show began as a co-operative effort between the Port City Daily and Sea-Comm news/talk WNTB and WLTT airing Monday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Beginning tomorrow (8/31) Catenacci and co-host Cori Stukes will broadcast live every Saturday from Hell’s Kitchen on Princess Street in downtown Wilmington. He says in the Port City Daily, “Over the last eight months, we have connected the local community with some of the top names in sports from across the country. Even with a focus on local, we continue to get some of the household names when it comes to industry. Locally, every high school football, basketball and baseball coach has made an appearance on the show at least once, as well as UNCW coaches and players.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by a number of new affiliate stations, including: WCKG-AM, Chicago; WBAT-AM, Marion, Indiana; KENT-AM, Parowan, Utah; WRSB, Canandaigua, New York; WASB, Bridgeport, New York; W286AE-FM, Fairport, New York; and WNZS, Bangor, Maine…..“Late Night Health Radio” with host Mark Alyn joins the programming lineup at KABC, Los Angeles…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom” with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem is added to WFPA, Fort Payne, Alabama…..The “Unlock Your Wealth” feature by Heather Wagenhals is added to affiliate stations WPGR, Pittsburgh; KFIV, Modesto and KWSX, Stockton, California; and WEZO, Augusta, Georgia.
U.S. Syria Action Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 26-30. The question of whether the United States should take action against Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the March on Washington anniversary tied with American race relations. Following at #3 was Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs and at #4 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Curtis Wright and George Bell to Launch Wilmington, NC Talk Station Monday. After splitting from Cumulus Media in late 2012 and partnering with area businessman and local Republican activist George Bell, Curtis Wright began producing his “On the Beat” internet talk program from the duo’s Talk Media TV studios in February of this year. Now, Wright and Bell are launching news/talk outlet “My Talker” on class A FM WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina at 106.7 on Monday July 22. The station will feature Wright’s program in morning drive followed by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham, and Premiere’s Sean Hannity. Other network shows to be carried include: TRN’s Andrea Tantaros, Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM,” “Handel on the Law,” Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, Gary Sullivan, Leo Laporte and more.
Former Governor David Paterson Officially Joins ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in New York. The former governor of New York has been co-hosting the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show alongside Curtis Sliwa – dubbed “Curtis and the Gov” – for about a month now but Salem Communications announces David Paterson officially joins the WNYM in a permanent capacity. Sliwa, who’s been pulling double duty at the station for some time, will continue to host the morning show solo from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. After leaving the governor’s office, Paterson joined WOR, New York but exited that station when Clear Channel bought it from Buckley Broadcasting. He says of returning to the air, “I am ecstatic at the prospect of returning to talk radio at ‘AM 970 The Answer’ and co-hosting with one of the living legends in the business, Curtis Sliwa. Working with Curtis, as opposed to being a solo host, gives me a wider berth to air my opinions and strike up an interesting back-and-forth with an outspoken and articulate critic on everything.” WNYM VP/GM Jerry Crowley, who hired Paterson while working at WOR, states, “There was no more beloved or recognizable figure in talk radio than the Gov. It’s amazing how fast he became skilled behind the microphone. He created quite a buzz when he first started reading commercials and our clients simply loved it. He was a big part of our success.”
WFAN, New York Prepares to Launch 4th Annual Fantasy Phenom Challenge. CBS Radio sports talk WFAN, New York is kicking off its 4th annual Fantasy Phenom Challenge next week at Modell’s Sporting Goods on Columbus Avenue in New York City. This promotion is a contest for local listeners to show the station their sports talk chops and win a chance to host a program on WFAN. The contest begins Thursday at 12:00 noon at the Columbus Ave. Modell’s location, then moves to the Edgewater, New Jersey location on Saturday, July 27 and to the Plainview, New York location on Tuesday, July 30. At each location the station will audition up to 100 contestants who must deliver a 2-minute rant in front of the judges. Winners move on with the final five competing for the ultimate prize at Mike Francesa’s “End of Summer” bash and radio show broadcast live on-air and online at www.wfan.com from Bar A in Lake Como, New Jersey on Friday, August 23. WFAN operations manager and CBS Radio New York VP of programming Mark Chernoff says, “Once again it’s ‘Fantasy Phenom’ time on ‘The Fan.’ This year we’re partnering with Modell’s Sporting Goods to hold first round auditions at three of their area stores as we look for another grand prize winner who will receive a weekly air shift for a year on WFAN and this year as an added bonus, the winner will receive a two year lease of a brand new Lester Glenn Hyundai. Let the fun begin!”
Walter Sabo Interviewed by Bob Shannon at The Conclave. In a riveting one-on-one presentation, Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo was interviewed by The Conclave executive director Bob Shannon yesterday (7/18) during the conclusion of the second day of the three-day industry gathering in Minneapolis. Sabo discussed a number of the highlights of his colorful career in radio and explained his view of the evolving relationship between popular culture and video on the internet. The consultant also discussed radio’s need to take more chances on new concepts and stop the practice of playing follow the leader. The Conclave concludes today (7/19) with “Game Day” sessions geared to sports radio and a trip this evening to a Minnesota Twins baseball game.
NRG Media’s ‘1620 The Zone’ in Omaha to Launch Nick Bahe Show. Sports talker KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” announces former Creighton University hoops star Nick Bahe becomes part of the lineup with a daily 11:00 am to 2:00 pm eponymous program. The station says Bahe’s program joins the “entirely live and local” lineup. Bahe’s show follows lead-in “Sharp & Benning” and is followed by “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” with hosts John Bishop and Mike’l Severe in afternoon drive.
Jeff Katz Takes Part in Boston Herald Online Program. Boston-based talk media personality Jeff Katz (most recently with Clear Channel’s former news/talk WXKS-AM, Boston) is pictured here on the set of the Boston Herald’s “Press Party” program that is part of the paper’s online initiative. Seen here (from l-r) are: Joe Battenfeld (formerly of FOX 25/Boston), Jaclyn Cashman (formerly of WWLP-TV/Springfield), Tito Jackson (Boston City Councilor), Katz, and Dr. Bob Rosenthal (Chairman of Suffolk University Communications Department).
Odds & Sods. ESPN Radio – which will broadcast 17 NFL games this season – announces it’ll kick off the season with Tennessee at Pittsburgh on Sunday, September 8…..Cumulus Media’s WWLS, Oklahoma City renews its deal with the NBA’s Thunder to continue serving as flagship station for the team. The two sides recently signed a multi-year agreement that provides for Spanish-language play-by-play on sister WKY.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. Pilot Media’s WRPW, Bloomington, Illinois adds “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney to the program schedule….. WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment’s Kim Komando program adds new affiliates: WWIQ, Philadelphia; KSRO, Santa Rosa, California; KYKN, Kaiser, Oregon and KXLY, Spokane…..Sports talk show “From the Press Box to Press Row” with Donal Ware adds new affiliates KKNO, New Orleans and WVWI, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 15-19. The aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict landed atop the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act – ObamaCare. At #3 was the IRS’ scrutiny of conservative groups and individuals and following at #4 was immigration reform and amnesty. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.