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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.