Alpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.
WFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radio flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).
Hyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and he brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Baldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will immediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”
Four More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio president and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).
Louisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on a regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).
Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than two weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.
BTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26. Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
BFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognition includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.
Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.
Cool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles. TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070: news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
ATLANTIC CITY — The 68th annual New Jersey Broadcaster’s Association Conference & Gala in Atlantic City brought together state broadcasters, management, sales and industry leaders for a two-day event that included honoring those who’ve helped to make New Jersey broadcasting great, and new this year, to recognize broadcasters mentoring those considering a career in radio.
The conference opened this week with the theme: “Broadcast Has a New Attitude.” NJBA president & CEO Paul Rotella told Talkers, “We heard from a variety of voices during this conference which provided attendees with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.” During the conference, the NJBA honored FOX News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year. Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth inducted Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Richard Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.
Jack Swanson to Lead KCBS, San Francisco Programming. Legendary spoken-word programmer Jack Swanson is named director of news and programming for KCBS “All News Radio 740AM and 106.9FM.” CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Doug Harvill says, “Jack has a distinguished track record of leading iconic radio stations. He’s a terrific leader with a deep understanding of how a market leading station such as KCBS can be a trusted and active member of its community.” Swanson served for years as vice president of programming at Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco. He began his radio career as a news anchor/reporter for WLS, Chicago before becoming the news and program director for KGO, San Francisco. From there he became president and general manager for KING-FM, Seattle. He says, “Being asked to lead one of the best news teams in the country is one of those rare situations that don’t present themselves often. I’m looking forward to contributing to the amazing growth of this legendary station in the years ahead.”
Fruge, Thomas Involved in CBS Radio Programming Changes. Concurrent with CBS Radio Las Vegas vice president of programming Charese Fruge transferring to Houston for similar duties (and to be operations manager there), the company promotes Cat Thomas to succeed Fruge in Las Vegas. Thomas will continue as day-to-day programmer of Las Vegas’ KXTE “X107.5 – Alternative First”; talk KXNT AM & FM; and KXST “CBS Sports Radio 1140.” Senior vice president and CBS Radio Houston market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Charese is a talented programmer and leader. Her longstanding relationships in the music industry, passion for radio, and ability to create special experiences for the listener are an integral part of why she is such a great fit for Houston. We are thrilled to have her join the Houston team, as we continue to grow and build upon our brands under her guidance.” Fruge remarks, “This role is the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to finally be back in the south. I am honored and am looking forward to working with the Houston team to help take these amazing brands to the next level. I have made lifelong friends in Las Vegas and appreciate them always making me look good.” Meanwhile, senior vice president and CBS Radio Las Vegas market manager Jerry McKenna states, “Cat Thomas is a veteran programming executive whose experience in this market is unmatched. He has successfully programmed [CHR] KLUC for the better part of two decades and most recently, has been the driving force behind the success of our spoken-word brands. Our stations are in very capable hands.” According to Thomas, “This is a dream come true. We have the biggest brands in the market. I have loved this group since we put these stations together in 1996. None of this would be possible without the passion of our staff. As [the late Ohio State University football coach] Woody Hayes said, ‘You win with people,’ and we have great people from top to bottom.” A member of the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, Fruge will oversee programming for hot AC KHMX “Mix 96.5”; sports outlets KIKK-AM and KILT-AM; country KILT-FM “The Bull”; CHR KKHH “Hot 95-7”; and Spanish contemporary KLOL “Mega 101.” She starts her new assignment – which will include day-to-day PD responsibilities for “Mix” and “Hot” – one week from Monday (5/4). Her resume includes on-air and programming stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, Denver, and New Orleans. In addition to KXTE, KXNT AM & FM, and KXST, Ohio State University alum Thomas will oversee CHR KLUC “Las Vegas’ #1 Hit Music Station” and hot AC KMXB “Mix 94.1.” Eight years after being night personality at KLUC, Thomas was elevated to program director (1996); he became PD of KXNT AM & FM, KXST, and KXTE last year. Similar to Fruge, Thomas’ first day on his new job is one week from Monday (5/4). Elsewhere at CBS Radio Las Vegas, KLUC assistant program director John “J.B. King” Bernard is promoted to program director and “Mix” assistant program director/music director Jonathan “J. Love” Campbell is boosted to PD of that station. Bernard joined KLUC 17 years ago and has been APD since 2001. He previously worked in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Sacramento. With CBS Radio Las Vegas the past three years, Campbell formerly programmed in Providence, Oxnard-Ventura (California), and Reno (Nevada).
The Howie Carr New England Juggernaut Rolls On. In a remarkable display of just how potent an independent regional talk radio network can be, radio/newspaper/author phenomenon Howie Carr continues to expand the reach of his Howie Carr Radio Network north into New Hampshire and southeast into Connecticut. Bringing the growing lineup to 22 radio stations (including flagship WRKO, Boston) are WASR, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire as well as Connecticut’s WMRD, Middletown and WLIS, Old Saybrook. On penetrating the Nutmeg State, Carr tells TALKERS, “I’ve always had a sizable audience in Connecticut, and I’m happy that my listeners there can now find me even more easily. As a kid, I wanted to go to Wesleyan, and now I’m in Middletown — and Old Saybrook.” Don DeCesare, president/GM of WLIS/WMRD adds, “We’re thrilled to have Howie Carr as part of our onair lineup. Howie has been New England’s voice for years. We’re proud to add that voice now and be his stations in Connecticut.” Regarding this latest expansion of Carr’s network, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is only going to be a matter of months before the flood dam bursts and Howie Carr becomes a major national host eventually heard in all 50 states. He is at the top of his game.” Meet Howie Carr at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. The annual conference is on the verge of a sellout. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413 or click here.
Salem Radio Network Welcomes Michael Medved Back. It’s a gradual return to his daily, syndicated talk radio show, but Michael Medved is slowly working his way back after treatment for throat cancer. Medved announced his hiatus from the program back on January 30. Now, SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “We are SO grateful to have Michael Medved transitioning back into his SRN talk show. Monday he appeared by phone, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday he has been in his Seattle studio, hosting guests like U.S. Senator John McCain for discussion of today’s Obama apology for U.S. raids killing two hostages, plus the Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States.” Medved has been a nationally syndicated host for the past 18 years.
Jim Gearhart and New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show to Broadcast from Battelship New Jersey. In recognition of Memorial Day, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning host Jim Gearhart and the rest of the morning show will broadcast from the deck of the Battleship New Jersey on May 22. In a letter inviting listeners to attend the broadcast, Gearhart writes, in part, “While the nation celebrates the start of summer this year, I invite you, your family and friends to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans and active military during a special live broadcast of the ‘New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show’ aboard America’s most decorated battleship. The morning show team will be on the deck of Battleship New Jersey, located on the waterfront in Camden on Friday, May 22 joined by veterans, honor guards, military agencies and state dignitaries for patriotic music, discussions and storytelling…As a Naval veteran and the father of two enlisted men, it is my privilege to commemorate our military this Memorial Day Weekend, and I encourage all active and retired servicemen and women, as well as civilians, to come enjoy the show and share their appreciation for those who make America the land of the free and home of the brave.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Dr. Joy Browne show is added to the program schedule on WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” adds new affiliate stations WCGO, Evanston, Illinois; WMXI-FM, Laurel, Mississippi; KFEQ, Saint Joseph, Missouri; and KELY, Ely, Nevada to its roster…..AdLarge Media reports “The National Marijuana News” program is added to the lineup at: WHIG, Colorado Springs; WPEK-AM, Asheville, North Carolina; and WNOS, New Bern, North Carolina…..Christian radio offering “The HopeLine with Dawson McAllister” is two months into syndication and already heard on nearly 100 stations including recent new affiliates: WGEN-FM, Chicago and the MyGen Radio Network; WTRJ-FM, Jacksonville; and WCLN-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of April 20-24. The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the ISIS violence tied with the military action taking place in Yemen. Coming in at #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects tied with the scrutiny of the operation of the Clinton Foundation, followed by the death of two hostages at the hands of American drones at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Names Mangino and Duffy Afternoon Hosts. Pittsburgh news/talker KDKA-AM announces two new personalities will lead its “KDKA Afternoon News” program beginning April 27. Current KDKA-AM evening talk show host Robert Mangino will team with Shelley Duffy, who moves across the hall from her current gig as co-host of sister hot AC’s Bubba Show. Duffy has been a part of morning shows with CBS RADIO Pittsburgh for the past 25 years. The station says, “The paring of Mangino and Duffy will augment the award-winning news and information programming on Pittsburgh’s news/talk leader. Mangino and Duffy join veteran newscaster Rose Ryan-Douglas, field reporter Joe DeStio and sports director Jeff Hathhorn on a fast-paced afternoon news magazine format that features traffic and weather together on the fives and business reports at :20 and :50 past the hour every week day.” KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci comments, “Robert is a great quarterback to tie it all together while Shelley has a unique perspective about life in Pittsburgh.”
Ryan Maguire Named WQAM, Miami Program Director; Jim Graci Adds Pittsburgh Sports Talker Programming Duties. Moving from CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh sports talker KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan,” programmer Ryan Maguire takes over the PD role at WQAM, Miami, effective May 4. CBS RADIO acquired WQAM as part of a swap of stations between it and Beasley Media Group. CBS RADIO VP of programming Rob Morris comments, “Ryan is passionate about radio, competitive, a terrific strategic thinker and possesses great leadership skills. We very much look forward to Ryan joining WQAM and our CBS RADIO Miami team.” Maguire states, “I’m thrilled at the opportunity given to me by CBS RADIO to take this leadership role at one of the greatest heritage sports stations in America. I can’t wait to get working with our diverse and dynamic team in South Florida as we shape and build on a leading sports brand.” The company says that during Maguire’s tenure in Pittsburgh, KDKA-FM “set ratings and revenue records in 2012 and 2013, reaching #1 P6+, and was also nominated for a National Association of Broadcasters‘ Marconi Radio Award in 2014.” Simultaneously, the company announces that sister news/talk KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci will serve as program director for “The Fan” and KDKA-AM news director and executive producer PJ Kumanchik will also serve as executive producer for “The Fan.” CBS RADIO Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Young says, “Jim and PJ are a strong and very competent managerial team. They have performed very well in developing and executing the programming vision of KDKA-AM. With much synergy already existing between KDKA-AM and KDKA-FM, I believe their expanding programming roles at ‘Sports Radio 93-7 The Fan’ are a natural progression, and will benefit our various audiences.”
Mandy Connell Adds New Show to Duties in Return to Louisville. Talk show host Mandy Connell will continue to host the morning program on iHeartMedia’s KHOW, Denver but she’s also taking on another program responsibility when she begins hosting the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show on her alma mater WHAS, Louisville. Starting May 18, Connell’s new show will replace Lachlan McLean’s evening sports talk show. Connell joined iHeartMedia in 2010 from her morning gig at WINK, Naples/Fort Myers when she took over the midday show on WHAS previously occupied by the late Francene Cucinello.
Mike Huckabee to End Daily Talk Radio Features; SRN’s Mike Gallagher to Assume Host Duties. The decision to stop producing his daily talk radio feature, “The Mike Huckabee Report,” is being confirmed by Huckabee’s production partner WYM Media Management. Though WYM offers no specific reason for the end of the programming, speculation is that Huckabee intends to focus on his possible run for president in 2016. In a memo to affiliate stations, WYM states that the last report hosted by Huckabee will air on May 1 and, effective May 4, Salem Radio Network personality Mike Gallagher will begin as host of the daily feature with the new title, “Gallagher Online.” The show will be syndicated by WYM, the affiliate sales division of by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media, which also had the rights to “The Huckabee Report.” Gallagher comments, “I’m honored to be walking on the commentary path blazed by Governor Mike Huckabee. I just hope this doesn’t mean folks will expect me to run for president myself!”
Cooke: Report from Las Vegas – Day 4. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report from Sin City where he’s been covering the NAB Show and the co-located NMX for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo. In today’s report, there’s plenty of advice for podcasters from Grant Baldwin; some notes from the standing-room-only keynote from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and some chilling realities about your smartphone’s ability to spy on you from security software baron John McAfee. Read Holland Cooke’s report here.
DC Radio Row Addresses Complex Immigration Issues. The ninth annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire radio row produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform moves into the second and final day today. Taking place at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill, the event has drawn some 45 radio talk show hosts to the Nation’s Capital for live broadcasts addressing the topic of U.S. immigration policy. Appearing on the radio programs are members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. Attending the event and appearing as a guest on numerous shows discussing talk radio’s role in the immigration issue and the relative First Amendment component is TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison. From the scene in Washington Harrison says this year’s radio row was an interesting blend of well-known hosts and newcomers to the scene. “Everyone with whom I spoke on air was extremely thoughtful and solutions-oriented in dealing with this complex and sensitive issue.” Harrison (right) is pictured here with WFTL, Fort Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman (center) and KXL, Portland and Compass Media Networks-syndicated host Lars Larson (left).
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of March 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ Finds Pirate Radio Operator; Authorities Shut Station Down. After receiving complaints from listeners about interference with its signal, Townsquare Media talk station WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” investigated on its own and discovered the illegal signal was operating at 101.3 FM out of a home in Linden, New Jersey. According to a story at NJ.com, after being told by the FCC that an investigation could take a couple of weeks, the station appealed to local authorities. The homeowner subsequently was told of complaints and the zoning codes being violated and the 20-plus foot antenna was removed and the station ceased to operate.
Odds & Sods. This year’s National Headliner Awards have been announced and CBS Radio News picked up four first-place finishes. CBS Radio News was honored in four categories: Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators Breaking News or Continuing Coverage — First place, “Police Killings,” CBS Radio News staff; Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators Newscast — First place, “CBS World News Roundup,” Steve Kathan and Paul Farry; Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators Feature and Human Interest Story — First place, “Beatles 50th Anniversary,” Dave Barrett; Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators News Series — First place, “Midterm Election,” Barry Bagnato…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and sister station WFED, Washington were honored with National Headliner Awards in the radio station categories. WTOP was recognized in four categories: Radio stations Newscast, all markets – First Place for “September 4th, 6 p.m.”; Radio stations Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event – Second Place for “Gaithersburg Plane Crash”; Radio stations Feature and Human Interest Story, all markets – Second Place for “If This Violin Could Talk” by Jamie Forzato; and Radio affiliated Website: – First Place for WTOP.com. WFED was honored in two categories: Online-Only Writing – First Place, Mike Causey; and Best Radio-Affiliated Website – FederalNewsRadio.com…..The new producer for the Salem Radio Network-syndicated Eric Metaxas show is Chris Himes. SRN calls him “a seasoned digital media producer with a passion for curating world-class content.” Prior to joining SRN, Himes served as supervising digital producer at NBC, working 7 seasons on “Saturday Night Live,” managing the show’s digital footprint on NBC.com and on their social media platforms. In 2010, he began overseeing “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” as well and eventually would supervise web production operations for “30 Rock,” “Grimm,” “Law and Order: SVU” and several other prime time shows…..Illinois talk radio personality Ian Bayne makes his Chicago debut tomorrow (4/17) when he fills in for Joe Walsh on his afternoon show on Salem‘s WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” Bayne hosts the morning program on WRPW, Bloomington, Illinois “Cities 92.9.”
2016 Presidential Prospects, the Obama Administration Amnesty Order, Tax Day, ISIS Activity in Iraq, Aaron Hernandez Guilty Verdict, Spring Break Gang Rape Case, Obama’s Cuba Policy, Iran Nuclear Negotiations Controversy, and Gyrocopter Capitol Lawn Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15). The potential candidates for president in 2016; the effects of the amnesty order signed by President Obama; chatter about the taxes Americans pay each year; the report that ISIS is close to taking control of Ramadi, Iraq; former NFL star Aaron Hernandez is convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole; the case of a gang rape on a Panama City, Florida beach during spring break, President Obama’s changing policy toward Cuba; the controversial negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; and the case of a retiree landing a gyrocopter on the lawn of the Capitol building in Washington were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
End of an Era in Cincinnati as Jim Scott Announces Retirement from WLW. Legendary Cincinnati morning personality Jim Scott announced on the WLW airwaves today that he is retiring after a 54-year career, effective April 6. As reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer, Mike McConnell will take over the morning show. McConnell left WLW’s midday show to work with former boss Randy Michaels at Chicago’s WGN. He spent three years there. In making the announcement, Scott said the choice to retire is entirely his. He began his Cincinnati career in 1968 on WSAI.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ Parts Ways with Overnight Host Ray Rossi. The station will air “rewind” versions of the midday “Dennis & Judi” show and the afternoon drive “Deminski & Doyle” program. WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” brand manager Eric Johnson says the Townsquare Media station will “continue to offer breaking news, weather, and traffic updates…each weeknight from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am.” At one time Rossi was partnered with Craig Carton in afternoon drive in the first incarnation of “The Jersey Guys.” After Carton left to become Boomer Esiason’s partner in mornings on WFAN, New York, Rossi partnered with Casey Bartholomew. When “Deminski & Doyle” took over afternoon drive, Rossi moved to the overnight show. Johnson says, “We wish Ray all the best and thank him for his many years of service.”
Mancow Returns to FM Music Radio as Morning Host of WLUP-FM, Chicago. After a tryouts stunt by Cumulus Media’s classic rock WLUP-FM, Chicago for a new morning drive personality, it’s being reported by numerous Chicago media outlets that today, Erich Mancow Muller will get the gig and an official announcement will follow. Others who spent a week on the air in hopes of landing the position included: Liz Wilde, Abe Kanan and Shadoe Stevens. After exiting alternative WKQX, Chicago in 2006, Mancow reinvented himself as a young-skewing conservative talk personality and was syndicated by TRN-FM for a number of years. He’s been off radio since last fall.
Saga Communications Q4 2014 Radio Net Operating Revenue Up 6.3%. The latest financials from Saga Communications have been released and for the radio division, the fourth quarter of 2014 was a good one, with net operating revenue up 6.3%. For all of 2014, Saga’s radio division reports net operating revenue was up 3.4% on revenue of $113.6 million.
KPOJ, Portland Launches New Morning Drive Show. The new morning show on iHeartMedia’s sports talk KPOJ, Portland “Rip City Radio 620” is “Rip City Mornings with Bunker and Danforth.” Andy Bunker was most recently with Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle. The station says Taylor Danforth is a native Oregonian, high school athlete and a graduate of the University of Oregon. He spent his first years in radio calling play-by-play for high school football games and most recently was on-air at another local sports station. iHeartMedia Portland SVP of programming Dave Hill says, “We see an incredible opportunity to produce a local sports morning show for Portland. They are hungry to talk about Portland sports and we are thrilled to give them the first shot each morning.”
WTOP-FM, WRC-TV Create D.C. News Alliance. The joint venture – which begins in two weeks (3/25) – is between Hubbard Washington, DC all-news operation WTOP and cross-town NBCUniversal-owned WRC-TV “NBC 4.” WTOP senior vice president and general manager Joel Oxley opines, “The Washington region is the most educated and information-hungry market in America. WTOP and ‘NBC 4’ are committed to serving the needs of our community with timely, accurate news from the most trusted teams of journalists in the nation’s capital.” WRC-TV “NBC 4” president and general manager Jackie Bradford declares, “The combined forces of two dynamic, cutting-edge newsrooms working together on all platforms will be powerful. This partnership will serve people throughout the Washington area well by delivering the most up-to-date local news, information, and weather.” In addition to the two entities covering breaking news in a collaborative way, WTOP reporters will be featured on “NBC 4” newscasts and “NBC 4” reporters will be heard throughout the day on WTOP. WRC-TV’s “Storm Team 4” meteorologists will provide forecasts on WTOP every ten minutes on the eights.
Beasley Las Vegas to Open Radio Studio at ‘Downtown Container Park’ Destination. The partnership between Beasley Media Group Las Vegas and D&C Entertainment will soon bring to fruition the “Beasley Media/Cox Business Broadcasting Studio” to the city’s Downtown Container Park (pictured here) – what will be the first and only radio broadcasting studio in the park – an open-air shopping center and entertainment venue featuring almost 40 shops, restaurants and bars. Beasley says its Las Vegas VP and market manager Tom Humm, along with D&C Entertainment “recognized the value in creating a visual and interactive location for not only live radio broadcasts, but also interviews with entertainers, celebrities and local dignitaries. The space was selected for its close proximity to the stage. With Cox Business onboard as a Studio Sponsor, the vision became a reality the first part of this year. Construction began February 17, 2015 and the completion of the Beasley Media/Cox Business Broadcasting Studio is expected in early April, 2015.” The completed facility will be a fully functional radio broadcasting studio featuring state-of-the-art broadcasting equipment from the Wheatstone Company. Humm comments, “We envision bringing and supporting live events at the Downtown Container Park. Through our five radio stations, Beasley Media Group Las Vegas reaches over 1 million local residents weekly. There’s a terrific synergy between our audience, D&C Entertainment’s ideas and the size and popularity of Downtown Container Park. We’re confident that once completed, our radio broadcasting facility will be a major highlight to the downtown area. In radio, it’s all about the community. What better way to entertain and serve our community than through a visible, completely functioning radio studio in the Downtown Container Park.”
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System. The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region. It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator. TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable. TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates. These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.” TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.” TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.
WTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations. The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011. The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions): Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).
SiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film. Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming. Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.” The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides. The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show. The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family. Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio. He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can. I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told. I am so excited to begin.” Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life. In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”
Villanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB. The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot. That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’” His program debuts this evening.
New Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame. Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey. Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”
WXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig. Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month. In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989. He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling. Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.” Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all? He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing. It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him. The guy is such an awesome personality.” STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.
The Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference. The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use. Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need for tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.” Some of the speakers appearing this year include: Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media. Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.