Tuesday, October 18, 2016

| October 18, 2016

Entercom to Acquire Four Charlotte Signals from Beasley for $24 Million.  In order to stay under the FCC ownership cap in the Charlotte market, Beasley Broadcast Group has to sell some of its holdings that would wbtwlnk-duo-logoput if over the cap after the previously announced Greater Media acquisition deal closes.  Now, Beasley announces that Entercom will acquire news/talk WBT-AM/FM, hot ACwfnz WLNK-FM (all three currently owned by Greater Media) plus sports talk WFNZ-AM and its accompanying FM translator.  The company says that Entercom will begin operating WBT-AM/FM and WLNK-FM upon the closing of the Greater Media deal, pursuant to a time brokerage agreement.  Back on July 19, Beasley and Greater Media entered into a definitive merger agreement whereby Beasley will acquire all of the outstanding stock of Greater Media for an aggregate consideration of approximately $240 million, subject to adjustments.

Westwood One to Syndicate WMAL, Washington-Based Chris Plante Show.  Over the years, the WMAL-AM/FM, Washington-based Chris Plante show has aired on other Cumulus Media news/talk stations – it still is heard on the company’s KARN-FM, Little Rock.  Now, the company is getting serious about going beyond DC with the show and Westwood One begins syndication efforts for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program beginningplantechris January 2, 2017.  About the conservative talk personality, WW1 says, “A third-generation media pro, Plante began his radio career at WMAL in 2005 after 17 years inside the Washington bureau at CNN, where he moved up the ranks from researcher and assignment editor to Pentagon correspondent.  During his tenure at CNN, he crisscrossed the globe, covering events from Vietnam and Albania to Jakarta.  He was the director of the U.S. westwood-one-newtelevision network pool operations in Saudi Arabia for three months following Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.  Plante won the Edward R. Murrow Award from the RTDNA for his live coverage of the terrorist attack on the pentagon on September 11, 2001.  He was the first to report that the Pentagon had been attacked. He was also recognized by the Television Academy for his September 11 reporting.  He makes regular appearances on the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network.”  Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “Chris Plante takes the news of the day and breaks it down in his signature direct, funny, and fearless style.  He engages a legion of devoted fans who tune in every day whether they agree with him or not.  He’s a captivating storyteller who makes great radio.  It’s the kind of programming we are proud to add to our best-in-class talk lineup.”

WABC, New York and Westwood One Renew Don Imus.  When January 2, 2017 rolls around, the only difference in morning drive at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York and its Westwood One radio network will be imusdona 9:00 am ET signoff time for New York radio legend Don Imus (right now it’s 10:00 am).  Cumulus announces it has re-signed Imus and his crew to a new multi-year deal for the show to air on 77 WABC Radio from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  It’s been nine years since WABC inked Imus to a morning radio deal after CBS RADIO dropped him from crosstown WFAN in the wake of the “nappy-headed hos” scandal.  Cumulus SVP, content andwabc-logo programming Mike McVay states, “Don Imus is not a media icon.  He is much more than that.  He is an American Icon.  Mr. Imus brings his ‘A’ game every day. And if you miss one day, you miss a lot.  We are thrilled to have Don continue with Westwood One, Cumulus and WABC.”  The cast of executive producer Bernie McGuirk, comedians Rob Bartlett and Tony Powell, producer Lou Rufino, sportscaster Warner Wolf, and news anchor Connell McShane will also remain with the show.  The program is currently followed by “The Bernie & Sid Show” with McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg.  Whether WABC expands that program to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon remains to be seen.

WPRO-AM, Providence’s John DePetro Hosts Red Sox Great Curt Schilling; Former Pitcher Intends to Challenge Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.  During a long interview on the John DePetro program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (whoschillingcurt currently hosts a weekend syndicated talk show distributed by the Howie Carr Radio Network) spoke deptrojohnat length about the failed video game company 38 Studios that received a large Rhode Island state loan to locate in Providence.  The company went belly-up and the issue has been a sore spot for a number of politicians in the state, not to mention segments of the public.  During the interview, Schilling also told DePetro that he’s decided – pending approval from his wife Shonda – that he will challenge Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for her U.S. Senate seat.  Shonda Schilling later called in to the station to say she has not decided if she’s willing to give approval.  WPRI-TV, Providence reports that a recent WBZ/UMass poll put Warren at 47% and Schilling at 28%.

Entercom to Refinance Debt.  The Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based broadcaster announces it is meeting with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc., RBC Capital Markets, LLC and entercomWells Fargo Securities, LLC today to discuss a refinancing of its senior and senior unsecured debt.  In a press statement, Entercom Communications says it expects to enter into a $520 million senior secured credit facility that will include a $60 million revolving credit facility with a five-year maturity, plus a $460 million term loan with a seven-year maturity.  Entercom will use the term loan to refinance $225 million in existing senior secured bank debt, plus it will buy back $220 million in 10.5% senior subordinated notes.

harrisonupclosefaroutsmallCBS News Icon Charles Osgood Is the Subject of this Week’s Harrison Podcast.  Legendary CBS News radio and television giant Charles Osgood is the guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (10/18).  Osgood has been hosting (and continues to host) the four-osgoodcharlestimes-per-weekday morning feature “The Osgood Files” via Westwood One on radio stations across the nation since 1971.  He also retired several weeks ago from a 24-year stint as the anchor of television’s CBS News “Sunday Morning” program. Harrison and Osgood talk about changes in media and journalism over the years culminating with a provocative analysis of the current presidential election. To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

The Presidential Race, Trump’s Media Conspiracy, Hillary Clinton Emails Scandal, Battle Against ISIS in Mosul, Police Chiefs Group Apology, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17).  The race for the presidency; Donald Trump’s statements that the election is in jeopardy of being stolen by the media conspiracy against him; allegations that State Department Under-Secretary Michael Kennedy engaged in a quid-pro-quo with the FBI to have some of Hillary Clinton’s emails declassified during the investigation of her use of a private email server for State Department business; the ongoing battle against Islamic State in Iraq and the fight to retake Mosul; International Association of Chiefs of Police president Terrence Cunningham apologizes for generations of mistrust between police officers and minority communities; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

giordanodomElection 2016: TALKERS Magazine in the Trenches – WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Interviews Michael Harrison About the State of Talk Radio During Current Cycle.  WPHT, Philadelphia midday host Dom Giordano engages in an in-depth conversation with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about the disruptive effect Election 2016 has been having upon conservative talk radio during the current presidential election cycle.  The two talk about how the concept of targeting audiences and preaching to the choir – a modern day strategy of political talk broadcasting – has hit speedbumps on the right with the emergence of Donald Trump and even to a degree on the left with revelations about Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. Harrison says, “We have gone from playing checkers to three dimensional chess.”  To hear the conversation in its entirety, please click here.

Odds & Sods.  Progressive talk media personality Nicole Sandler returns to work after taking time off to treat her cancer.  She says, “It’s been a long couple of months during which my world changed completely.  I had no idea howsandlernicole long my detour to deal with cancer would last, but I’m ready to head back into the land of electoral insanity with just three weeks to go before election day.  If a life-threatening illness had to sideline me for a few months, it surely picked the right time.  And if I wasn’t already sick, covering this year’s presidential madness would have certainly made me ill.  But as we approach the finish line, I have to admit that I’ve been getting a bit antsy in recent days.  Talking back to the TV just wasn’t helping.”  She starts streaming her show – starting one hour from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET – at nicolesandler.com and Progressive millerstephanieVoices Network…..Stephanie Miller’s final “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” date for this year takes place in Los Angeles at the Saban Theater on November 5.  It will be broadcast in movie theaters across the country via Fathom Events on November 7.  Also, Miller’s book, Sexy Liberal! Of Me I Sing, wins the 2016 Wild Card Book Award in the Northern California Book Festival…..Following yesterday’s news about Galaxy Communications’ acquisition of Berkshires Media Group, it’s worth noting that Galaxy has applied to the FCC to move the FM translator it recently bought in South Burlington, Vermont to the Western Massachusetts region to serve as the translator for news/talk WBEC-AM, Pittsfield at 93.9 FM…..DGital Media issues a presser listing some of its recent content partnerships – including relationships with Tony Kornheiser, Peter King, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, IMG, The MMQB, and more.  Chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “We are extremely proud to add so many wonderful partnerships to our business.  The power of on-demand audio only continues to grow.  We are well poised for what lies ahead, bringing together our new and existing partners with a rapidly growing audience of millions of fans who tune in on a daily basis.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

| January 20, 2016

ramseydaveTime Magazine Recognizes Dave Ramsey Podcast.  Dubbing it one of the top 10 podcasts on iTunes in 2015, Time magazine gives the Dave Ramsey podcast recognition for its popularity.  The Ramsey podcast averages more than 2 million downloads per week.  Numerous publications, including iTunes Charts, Digital Trends and Stitcher, list the Dave Ramsey show among the most frequently downloaded and streamed podcasts.  Ramsey Media vice president Brian Mayfield comments on the news.  “We are excited to see the development of a completely new audience in the digital space.  Our roots are embedded in radio where we began, and our audience continues to grow.  This recent success on the digital side allows us to introduce our show to the next generation of listeners.  Our goal is simple: we want to be there for our listener when, where, and how they want to listen.  Digital distribution allows those constantly on the go the ability to listen to their favorite programs on their time schedule.  We offer a variety of solutions including podcast, a dedicated channel on iHeartRadio, online audio streaming, and an online video channel.”  Mayfield says that these efforts combined with the existing radio audience reaches a total audience of 11 million listeners every week.

francesamikeMike Francesa to Leave WFAN, New York When Contract Expires.  New York sports talk radio icon Mike Francesa tells Fox 1’s Katie Nolan that he will exit CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York when his contract ends in December of 2017.  On Nolan’s “Garbage Time” podcast, Francesa also tells Nolan that he has spoken with CBS brass about exiting early but the two sides haven’t found terms for an exit that are mutually agreeable.  He also says it won’t be the end of his sports talk career, just the end to his time with WFAN.  Fox Sports reports the news from the taping of Nolan’s video podcast that will be published tomorrow (1/21).

mccannjakeCumulus Promotes McCann to Market Manager and Cohen to VP of Sales in Washington.  Two are promoted in the executive ranks at Cumulus Media’s Washington station group.  Jakecohenbeth McCann moves up to vice president/market manager from his VP of sales post and Beth Cohen is upped from director of sales to VP of sales for the cluster.  Cumulus SVP Gary Pizzati states, “Jake McCann and Beth Cohen are the leadership team needed to achieve our goals in D.C.  In the past year, they’ve accomplished that and more.  Both promotions are well deserved.  We look forward to their continued contributions as they advance the growth trajectory of Cumulus DC.”  Cumulus owns hot AC WRQX “Mix 107.3” and news/talk WMAL-AM/FM in the market.

mediamonitors logoPresidential Candidates Radio Ads Tracked by Media Monitors; Hillary Clinton Top Spender.  Two of the nation’s earliest primary elections – the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary – are just weeks away and Media Monitors reports it is tracking the radio ads for candidates heard in markets within or near those states during the first 15 days of January.  Media Monitors reports the following: Hillary Clinton numbers from Des Moines and the Quad Cities show a total of 482 spots run with none run in the adjacent Omaha market.  Radio spots for Ted Cruz, whose numbers from Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha totaled 218 that were part of the Cruz For President buy, however, his Super PAC – Keep The Promise ran a total of 26 spots in the three Iowa markets.  Donald Trump radio spots that ran in Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha totaled 187 ads.  Bernie Sanders did not buy Omaha, but ran spots in Des Moines and the Quad Cities totaling 123 spots.  Marco Rubio’s Super PAC – Conservative Solutions – also ran in Des Moines, Omaha and the Quad Cities to the tune of 74 units counted.  And finally, Mike Huckabee’s Super PAC – Pursuing America’s Greatness – aired 50 times in Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha.  Targeting New Hampshire voters, Hillary Clinton ran 1,110 spots in both Boston and Portsmouth-Dover.  Bernie Sanders was next with 899 spots in the two markets.  Marco Rubio’s Super PAC aired 358 ads. Next was Ted Cruz with 109 spots appearing in Boston and Portsmouth-Dover.  Donald Trump played 76 times in the Portsmouth-Dover and 10 times in Boston.  Chris Christie aired 24 spots in Portsmouth-Dover, while his Super PAC – American Leads – ran 21 spots in Portsmouth-Dover and Boston.  Mike Huckabee did not run any spots in Portsmouth-Dover or Boston.

Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Oscars Boycott, Flint Water Scandal, 13 Hours Film,  Sinking Oil Prices/Tumultuous Financial Markets, and Battle Against Islamic State Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19).  The activities of the candidates for president; the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server for sensitive State Department business; the Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith-led boycott of the Academy Awards for the lack of black nominees; the lead water contamination scandal in Flint, Michigan; controversy surrounding the Benghazi film, 13 Hours; the continuing drop in oil prices and the activity in the world’s financial markets; and the battle against Islamic State were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

zampillodanDan Zampillo Exiting WTEM, Washington.  There are more changes coming to the Dan Snyder-owned sports talker WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.”  Program director Dan Zampillo – on the job since April of 2015 – is leaving the company, according to numerous reports, including one from the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg.  Citing an internal memo, the Post reports Zampillo will stay on as a search for his replacement commences.  Recently, station manager Rick Carmean exited and the company has eliminated that position.  Zampillo came aboard from SiriusXM’s sports programming division after Chuck Sapienza resigned the PD post during the bizarre “Man Cave” episode.  To refresh your memory, “The Man Cave” show – co-hosted by Chris Paul and Jason Reid – got off to an inauspicious start in March.  The launch of the show was delayed by two weeks during which there were reports Dan Snyder didn’t like the idea because Reid was critical of the Redskins while writing for the Post.  Sapienza quit during this time.  The show was eventually cancelled in October.  Read Steinberg’s Post piece here.

nielsen logoRound One of Holiday PPM Data Released.  The first of four rounds of Holiday 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The survey period was December 3 – December 30.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison and ‘America’s Digital Goddess’ Discuss the Culture of Technology.  Nationally syndicated radio star and newspaper columnist Kim Komando of WestStar TalkRadio Network joins TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison as a special guest on this week’s installment of PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” (1/19).  The two conduct an in-depth discussion about the state of the digital era as we are experiencing its unfolding in the early decades of the 21st century fromkomandokim both technological and cultural perspectives.  Highlights include a prognostication of where the technology is headed going forward.  Will humans increasingly merge (physically, mentally, spiritually) with silicon technology as chips are increasingly embedded not only in our clothing and all around us in the “Internet of Things” – but in our bodies as well?  How can parents, who are natives of the 20th century, exercise control and guidance over their digitally precocious children, who are natives of the 21st century?  What is the present state and future of privacy?  Komando, whom Harrison describes as a “remarkable woman,” discusses her early days as a teenage prodigy in New Jersey who graduated high school at 15, headed west on her own, and went on to build a multi-million dollar empire blazing new trails in radio and contributing greatly to the advancement of this amazing new era.  To listen to the entire conversation, click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

jacksonkevinTalk Host Kevin Jackson Named Fox News Contributor.  Independently syndicated talk personality Kevin Jackson joins the Fox News organization as a contributor.  The news was announced to Fox News Channel viewers on last night’s edition of “The Kelly File” with host Megyn Kelly.  Jackson has made numerous appearances on FNC shows over the years, including “Hannity” and “Fox & Friends.”  Jackson comments, “I am grateful and proud that Roger (Ailes) appreciates my talent enough to have added me to the Fox News family.  What a great honor to have Fox News as part of my distribution platform.  My message has been leaking through for some time and this should help me to extend that message a lot further.”

Odds & Sods.  As reported by Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch, Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis news/talker WIBC-FM names Chris Davis news director.  Davis, who most recently was news director for the News Mississippi Network, takes over for Mike Wilson who left the radio biz…..Westwood One is providing radio play-by-play for this weekend’s NFL conference championship games on Sunday.  WW1’s doubleheader coverage begins at 2:00 pm ET.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

| December 15, 2015

siriusxmHoward Stern Renews with SiriusXM in Landmark 12-Year Audio/Video Deal.  The wait is over – Howard Stern and SiriusXM are announcing the two sides have agreed to an extension to keep Stern’s live program on the satellite radio service for another five years.  But the new deal also includes an agreement that will allow SiriusXM to use Stern’s extensive audio and video library –sternhoward drawn from performances, specials, and shows spanning his more-than-30-year broadcasting career – for the next dozen years.  The details of the video plans will be announced at a future date.  This will be SiriusXM’s first venture into the video realm.   Under the new deal, Stern’s show will continue to be broadcast live exclusively from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET, with replays throughout the day, and on demand online and through the SiriusXM app.  Additionally, Stern will continue to produce his Howard 101 channel, which includes current and classic episodes of the Howard Stern show as well as original special programming throughout the day.  Stern is currently working a three-day week and the press release does not indicate any changes there so we’ll assume that remains the same.  Also, the financial details are not being meyerjimannounced.  Stern says, “As a broadcaster, it does not get better than working at SiriusXM and I’m truly excited for the future with this great company.  I happen to think that its best days are ahead…I am living a dream here on satellite radio and Jim Meyer is my life partner and the baby we are about to have is our new streaming video app.  The joy we are going to bring you in the very near future will make you feel like Christmas is every day.  Ho, Ho, Howard…out.”  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein comments, “Howard is better than ever.  Howard is a one-of-a-kind interviewer, who always delivers a provocative, engaging and headline-grabbing show.  We look forward to providing fans even more and deeper ways to experience Howard, and his world-class talent and insights.”  Noting that the deal has been worked on for months, Stern agent Don Buchwald adds, “Jim, Scott, and I have been discussing this arrangement for some time.  Obviously, the terms and conditions of a deal of this nature required a lot of give and take, as well as creative thinking on everyone’s part, and I am grateful to them both for the hard work they invested to make this deal a reality.  Howard and I are excited to enter into this cutting-edge and truly unique broadcasting agreement with SiriusXM that I believe will further the legacy of Howard Stern.”

bellart15Art Bell Tells TALKERS He Doesn’t Want to Be Off the Air.  Legendary late night talk host Art Bell abruptly quit his most recent return to a regular program on Friday (12/11), stating that he’s been the victim of attempts on his life that make it impossible for him to do the program.  The sudden end to “Midnight in the Desert,” which was steadily picking up affiliate stations, caused some in the business to think, “Oh no, here we go again.”  But Bell tells TALKERS magazine he wants to be on the radio.  Citing three incidents on October 21, November 23 and December 8, Bell says his wife has said, “Enough.”  Bell says, “If this jerk is caught I will be back, if not I will wait for some time to pass without incident and then do some non-scheduled shows.  I would like my fellow radio people to know this is not what I want.”

wilburkirbyKirby Wilbur to Host Late Morning Show on KVI, Seattle.  Last month, Sinclair-owned KVI-Seattle announced that market conservative talk pro Kirby Wilbur would return to the air and KVI in the New Year. Now, the station announces Wilbur will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot, effectivekvilogo January 4.  Wilbur will be joined for the first hour by current morning drive host John Carlson, then host the next two hours solo.  The station is dropping Glenn Beck’s Premiere-syndicated show to make room for Wilbur.  KVI program director Rick Van Cise states, “It’s clear our listeners want more local conservative conversation on Seattle radio.  And who better to have back-to-back than two of the original Northwest conservative voices who made KVI great.”  Wilbur has been off the radio for the past six years.  Most recently he’s been the Washington director for Americans for Prosperity heading up the Washington, DC-based National Journalism Center.  Wilbur comments, “I’m glad to be back with a new knowledge of the workings of the other Washington as we address local and national issues affecting all of us here.”

wowo15WOWO, Fort Wayne Switches FM Frequencies.  This is a bit of a downgrade as far as market coverage is concerned since the move of news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne’s FM simulcast is from class A FM WFWI to 75-watt translator W298BJ at 107.5 FM.  The heritage station has been heard on WFWI’s 92.3 frequency since Federated Media signed it on in March of 2012.  Program director Ryan Reker says, “It’s just a different place to listen to us.  The change from 92.3 FM to 107.5 FM means our listeners will need to update their radios to get the same news, weather and talk coverage they listen to now.”  WOWO-AM is heard very well throughout northeastern Indiana on its 50,000-watt 1190 kHz signal.  No plans have been announced for WFWI-FM’s new format.

delaneykateTalk Host Kate Delaney Talking Pete Rose Across the Country.  Nationally syndicated general issues show host Kate Delaney is guesting on scores of radio shows today (12/15) because of her sports expertise and her knowledge of the Pete Rose decision that came down yesterday from the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office.  The commissioner is continuing the ban on Rose working in baseball because of his cover-up of his gambling on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds.  Prior to her “America Tonight” program, Delaney spent a good part of her career in the sports media world covering 15 Super Bowls, 10 Final Fours, 10 U.S. Opens and numerous other sporting events.  She also served as sports director of KRLD, Dallas and did a stretch at sports talk WFAN, New York.  In addition to her regular show Delaney currently does a weekend shift on the NBC Sports Radio Network.

Odds & Sods.  San Francisco all-newser KCBS-AM is being honored with a special finalist citation by the 2016kcbs-am logo Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards for reporter Doug Sovern’s “Unholy Water,” a series of investigative reports that exposed the San Francisco Archdiocese’s installation of an illegal plumbing system at St. Mary’s Cathedral that poured water on homeless people at night to keep them from sleeping in the cathedral doorways, in the middle of the worst drought in California rosefrancishistory.  The CBS RADIO-owned station will be recognized at a ceremony hosted by veteran newsman Tom Brokaw at Columbia’s Low Library on January19, 2016…..Former WFED, Washington afternoon drive personality Francis Rose is handling a lot of fill-in work this week and next.  Rose is sitting in for Larry O’Connor on WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s “Drive at Five” all this week, and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week.  Rose is also in for Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon tonight and that company’s John Batchelor on Wednesday and Friday of this week…..The 27th annual Holiday Magic Radiothon on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle to benefit Treehouse raised more than $512,000.  Treehouse is asalemdebateMedved15 nonprofit organization that addresses the essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care…..In advance of tonight’s GOP primary debate, Salem Radio Network talk hosts Michael Medved (left) and Dennis Prager (right) are seen at right broadcasting from the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.  Salem Radio Network is partnering with CNN to provide the audio to radio stations across the country.  All five SRN daytime syndicated personalities are broadcasting from Las Vegas.  Additionally, SRN is presenting both pre- and post-debate programs co-hosted by Hugh Hewitt and Mike Gallagher.  Hewitt is also serving as one of the media panelists on the debate…..Premiere Networks announces it is broadcasting four college bowl games.  Available to sports stations nationwide, Premiere will distribute the live play-by-play for the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl, Zaxby’s Heart of albomRadiothon15Dallas Bowl and Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, all of which are produced by RedVoice Productions LLC…..Cumulus Media announces that the 2015 Mitch Albom S.A.Y. Detroit Radiothon raised $1,002,748 during last Thursday’s event.  Albom is afternoon drive host on the company’s news/talk WJR, Detroit.  This was the fourth year of the charity broadcast and included special guests Hugh Jackman, Paul Stanley, Billy Bob Thornton, Jane Pauley, JK Simmons, Craig Ferguson, Alice Cooper, Dr. Phil, Tim Allen, Howard Schultz, Dave Barry, John Pizzarelli, Mayor Mike Duggan, Bruce Cornblatt, Kevin Eubanks, Charles Woodson, Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, Stan Van Gundy, Brad Ausmus, Dan Gilbert, and Bernie Smilovitz.  Pictured here is Mitch Albom (at center) on the remote set during the radiothon.

2016 Presidential Race/Tonight’s GOP Debate, Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit Agreement, Battle Against IS/Islamic Anti-Terror Alliance, Refugee/Immigration Issues, Looming Freddie Gray Verdict, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14).  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the build-up to tonight’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas; the temporary spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown; the agreement that came out of the Paris Climate Summit and the larger topic of global warming; the battle against Islamic State and the news of a Saudi-led anti-terror coalition; the status of Syrian refugees and the issue of immigration policy in the United States; the expected verdict in the first phase of the Freddie Gray trials in Baltimore; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 23, 2015

| November 23, 2015

Paris Attacks Aftermath and Brussels Tensions Top Weekend News/Talk Stories.  The aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, the question of how to deal with Syrian refugees and specific threats to Brussels, Belgium were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.  The Paris aftermath and the Syrian refugee question ended last week as the top stories, landing atop the weekly Talkers TenTM chart, and they continued to be top points of discussion for news/talk outlets that featured live and local programs or carried live national shows over the weekend.

hessbillCumulus Expands Bill Hess’ Role in DC to Operations Manager.  Programming pro Bill Hess – currently serving as program director for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and Cumulus Media corporate PD/talk – is adding operations manager duties for the Washington. DC cluster.  Hess’ 38-year radio career has provided him with experience across numerous radio formats.  In addition to his news/talk and sports radio programming experience, he’s also programmed ACs WSNE, Providence;cumulus logo WHYN-FM, Springfield, MA; and WASH, Washington and classic rock WBIG, Washington.  Cumulus SVP, content and programming Mike McVay says, “Bill is an exceptional programmer.  The growth that WMAL has experienced under his direction is nothing short of astounding.  He has excelled as a corporate PD and will continue in that role.  Bill is deserving of this recognition.”  Hess says of his new duties, “On the heels of our team’s success at WMAL, I’m thrilled to be working with Louie Diaz on the rebirth of Washington’s legendary ‘Mix 107.3.’  Thanks to Gary Pizzati, Mike McVay, Jake McCann and Beth Cohen for this opportunity.”

spadeabillBill Spadea Replaces Jim Gearhart on New Jersey 101.5 AM Drive Show.  Back in September, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning drive personality Jim Gearhart suffered a severe concussion at his home while on vacation.  Recovery from the injury has been difficult, putting Gearhartgearhartjim on an extended leave of absence.  Now, Townsquare Media announces that Gearhart will not be able to return to his duties with the station and that Bill Spadea is assuming the role of host of the morning show.  Gearhart had been with the station for the past 25 years and is a member of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.  Spadea has been Gearhart’s chief fill-in since 2014 and voices the station’s daily feature “Bill Spadea’s New Jersey.”  Spadea says, “I’ve always looked up to Jim Gearhart as a legend in New Jersey media. His shoes are too large for me to ever fill completely, but I am honored and humbled and will try my best to live up to his legacy of unequaled radio and service to the people of New Jersey.”

valentimikeDetroit Lions Deny Trying to Silence WXYT-FM’s Mike Valenti.  Usually when a radio station ceases to be a pro sports team’s flagship, it’s because of money – either the rights got too expensive or the station was outbid.  But CBS RADIO Detroit market manager Debbie Kenyon says in a statement that Lions management wanted to pressure the station into firing talk host Mike Valenti for his staunchwxyt-fm logo criticism of the team’s performance.  Kenyon issued the following statement, “CBS RADIO and the Detroit Lions are parting ways.  ‘97.1 The Ticket’ has served as the flagship station for the Lions for more than a decade.  CBS RADIO says it has been negotiating with the Lions a wjr logolong time.  It is sad to say goodbye, but in the end it came down to the integrity of CBS — the refusal to be censored in talking about the team and making honest assessments on the air about this team.”  Crain’s Detroit Business reports the team says that isn’t true.  It quotes Elizabeth Parkinson, Lions’ SVP of marketing and partnerships, saying the mandate to fire Valenti in order to get a renewal with the club is “categorically a lie” and that Cumulus simply offered a better deal.  But in the Crain’s piece, Valenti’s manager, Mort Meisner, said the team made Valenti’s firing part of the conditions for renewing with the team and that team officials were regularly calling Kenyon to complain about Valenti’s criticism of the team’s performance and its management.  Read it here.

Odds & Sods.  Conservative talk pro Steve Malzberg – seen nightly on Newsmax TV – is sitting in for Salemmalzbergsteve Radio Network’s Bill Bennett on his morning drive show, “Bill Bennett’s Morning In America” this Friday (11/27)…..The NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers will remain with iHeartMedia in the Steel City as the team and the company come to terms to keep games airing on rock WDVE and sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH-FM.  The renewed deal extends through the 2018 season and contains elements of promotional support for the Steelers via iHeartMedia’s six Pittsburgh stations.

boonecharlieLegendary WCCO, Minneapolis Personality Charlie Boone Dies at 88.  As one half of the morning radio team “Boone and Erickson,” Charlie Boone was a fixture on Twin Cities radio for some 40 years, literally owning the daypart during the halcyon days of AM radio from the 1960s through the 1990s.  He died on Sunday (11/22) at the age of 88.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports he and Roger Erickson worked together for 37 years before Erickson’s retirement in 1998.  Boone continued to host a solo Saturday morning show from that point until 2010.  Boone arrived at WCCO from his previous gig in Fargo in 1959.  He and fellow air staffer Erickson hit it off personally and management put them together on the radio in 1961.

Bill Payne Dies at 76.  Oklahoma broadcaster Bill Payne passed away in Tulsa on Friday 11/20 at the age of 76.  Payne was the founder of the Oklahoma Academy of Radio.  Payne was a pioneer in the field of FM broadcasting putting KWHP-FM, Edmond, Oklahoma on the air in 1962.  His Payne Radio Group operates 13 stations across eastern Oklahoma.  The company continues to be led by Payne’s son Will Payne.

Friday, May 2, 2014

| May 2, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Movers and Shakers to Tackle Radio’s “Big Picture” at Talkers New York 2014.  In what has become a popular tradition at TALKERS conferences, a diverse group of industry heavyweights will tackle radio’s “big picture” in a panel session covering industry economics, technology, changing business models, programming challenges and trends, the relationship between talk and music radio, and radio’s role as a first responder during emergencies among other key subjects.  Panelists include (in alphabetical order):  Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Langmyer, VP news/talk programming Journal Broadcast Group and VP/GM, Milwaukee radio operations; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; Mike McVay, SVP, programming, Cumulus MediaHoward B. Price, director business continuity and crisis management, ABC News.  The session will be introduced by rising talk star Dana Loesch, KFTK, St. Louis and Radio America; moderated by Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; and sponsored by ABC News Radio.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This session is always a crowd pleaser at our conferences with lots of valuable take-aways.  Its free-wheeling, quick pace touches upon a wide variety of the broad-strokes themes that run throughout today’s radio concerns.”  Talkers New York 2014 takes place on Friday, June 20 at the historic India House on Hanover Square in the heart of NYC’s historic financial district.  More than 65 industry leaders are scheduled to speak.  It is on the verge of a sellout with registrations only open to professionals working in the radio and associated media industries. Registrations ($249) are only booked over the phone with credit card.  Call 413-565-5413.  For more up-to-the-minute agenda and sponsorship information, please click here.

kleinaaronAaron Klein Show Moves to ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in NYC.  After four years airing on Sunday evenings on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York, the Tel Aviv-based “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program debuts on Salem Communications-owned crosstown news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” Sunday, May 4.  In a press release, Salem says the Klein show “deals with the hotbed of Muslim extremists, and how they are trying to bring down the state of Israel.”  Klein exited WABC when the station made the decision to focus on locally driven programming.  Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “After years of competing with Aaron Klein and his program on WABC we now have grabbed him to join our new and re-vamped lineup on ‘AM 970 The Answer.’  I have had so many people ask me if we could bring Aaron over to our station and it is a pleasure to do so.  He fits our station and our attitude just fine, and I can’t wait to see what he is going to break next.”  Klein comments, “I am thrilled to be joining Salem Radio and ‘AM 970 The Answer’ to bring energetic, news-driven, live talk radio to the Sunday night lineup.  Together, we will prove there is a major audience for weekend talk radio if the content is compelling enough.”

worldbeatdaily logoTalk Hosts Lynn Woolley and Ben Barrack Debut News/Talk Site.  KTEM, Temple-Killeen, Texas-based talk media personalities Lynn Woolley and Ben Barrack announce their collaboration on a new national website called “The World Beat” at www.WBDaily.com.  The duo say “the new site will feature material from the Lynn Woolley show (also heard on KBBW, Waco; KWBC, Navasota, Texas; KCRS, Midland, Texas; and KVOP, Plainview, Texas) and the Ben Barrack Show (heard Sunday mornings on KTEM), but will not be devoted to any specific talk show.  WBDaily will feature cutting-edge opinion on national stories, often with a Texas flavor and occasional breaking news stories.  In fact, WBDaily will be a great source for show prep.”

wcar logoMichigan Family Sues Sima Birach, Jr. in Case Involving Sports Talk WCAR, Livonia.  A Michigan family is suing Sima Birach, Jr. claiming the operator of sports talk WCAR, Livonia, Michigan (suburban Detroit) bilked them out of almost $1 million.  The Detroit News reports that the station is leased to Birach, Jr. by his father (for $1 a year) whose Birach Broadcasting operates 23 stations in 14 states.  Sima Birach, Sr. tells the paper his son has no right to sell anything but commercial time.  He also says he’s been sued as the result of bad business decisions made by his son in the past and adds, “He’s been involved with some shysters before.  He’s 37-years old.  What am I going to do?”  The family suing Birach, Jr. is Drago and Jadranka Mihajlovski and their son Zive.  The trio allege they gave Birach, Jr. $500,000 on August 12, 2012, for a 10% interest in the station and on October 9, 2012, they say they invested $450,000 more for an additional 15% share in the station.  Their attorney says they were promised $50,000-per-year lifetime jobs as well and that after a few pay periods, the money stopped coming in and Birach, Jr. told them they had no interest in the station and their investment would not be returned.

ramseydaverachelRamsey-Cruze Book Debuts at #1.  The latest book by financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey – this time with his daughter Rachel Cruze – is called Smart Money Smart Kids (Lampo Press 2014) and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list (week ending 4/26) for “Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous.”   The book is promoted as providing “practical steps parents can take to teach their kids about money basics like working, spending, saving and giving, as well as how to deal with bigger challenges such as avoiding debt, paying for college and battling discontentment.”

radioioRadioIO and Bubba the Love Sponge Team Up for Digital Delivery.  Nationally syndicated, Tampa-based morning drive talk host Bubba the Love Sponge and RadioIO agree to terms on a deal that will allow the latter to continue to deliver Bubba the Love Sponge and his shows exclusively over the Internet on Bubba Army Radio through December 31, 2016.  RadioIO will have the exclusivebubba right to distribute archived and newly produced internet-only content of the Bubba Radio Network over the internet and the non-exclusive right to broadcast the Bubba the Love Sponge show live.  RadioIO will pay periodic fees based on subscription and advertising revenue received by the company relating to the Bubba programming.  In addition to the daily Bubba show, other programming consists of “Bubba Army Radio Uncensored,” “The Shannon Burke Show,” “Dangerous Conversations with Scott Ledger,” and a daily specialty show.  Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show is heard on formats including: hot talk, country, rock, classic hits and sports talk.

townsquare logoKJOC, Quad Cities Returns to Sports Talk.  After an 11-year period airing non-sports content (including the most recent format using Scott Shannon’s True Oldies Channel), Townsquare Media’s KJOC, Davenport flips to sports talk as “ESPN 1170.”  The Quad Cities Times reports station operations manager Darren Pitra saying, “We looked at a variety of things, but the decision was to go with ESPN.”  The station will carry the entire ESPN Radio lineup plus Chicago Cubs baseball and Iowa State football and basketball.  Pitra says of local sports talk, “It’s not something that’s completely [out of the realm of possibility] down the road.”

costa logoDino Costa Digital Platform to Debut Monday.  As TALKERS reported last month, former longtime SiriusXM sports talk personality Dino Costa is going the entrepreneurial road with his sports talk program and making it available via a digital platform on a subscription model.  Costa says the show will be accessible from anycostadino computer or mobile device and offer visitors access to a variety of digital and written news and commentary, including a live, three-hour video broadcast each weekday; pre-recorded interviews with today’s sports leaders and newsmakers; behind-the-scenes features; and exclusive news articles covering the top sports stories making headlines each week.  Costa says, “The new Dino Costa show is something that will redefine sports-based commentary and opinion, and I’m delighted to be back to serve as the conduit for a sports radio crowd across North America that is extremely frustrated with the meager sports talk offerings of today.  Our platform allows for the most refreshingly candid commentaries available.  We have no partnerships with leagues, officials, or any alliances that will prevent us from delivering the most unequivocal and straightforward opinion and views on a regular and consistent basis.  The era of corporate-driven news media is more than a huge problem that people of all walks are contending with these days.  We are the radical departure from this awful status quo…I cannot wait to get going.”   Emanating from Costa’s Cheyenne studios, his talk show airs live daily at 4:00 pm ET.

beard awardWABC, New York to Cover 2014 James Beard Awards.  When the 24th James Beard Awards are handed out on Monday, May 5, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York will provide coverage of the festivities.  The James Beard Awards recognize excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education in the United States.  They were established in 1990.  This year’s ceremonies will take place at New York’s Lincoln Center.  WABC says that starting today, listeners can watch video interviews with some of New York’s top chef’s including Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony and Betony’s Bryce Shuman.  Also, 77 WABC chats with Food Network host and James Beard Award emcee Ted Allen about the importance of the awards to New York and the country.  Monday, 77 WABC will provide live streaming coverage of the awards presentation from New York’s Lincoln Center.

sutherlandrachelOdds & Sods.  A programming and branding change takes place at Entercom’s WMC-AM, Memphis as the station becomes “ESPN 790 AM” and adds ESPN Radio programming.  It is keeping the CBS Sports Radio-syndicated Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson morning drive show…..Rachel Sutherland  — most recently with Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington – joins Fox News Radio to serve as a reporter based in Washington.  Sutherland has also worked with TRN as an anchor for America’s Radio News Network and for Metro Networks in DC…..CBS RADIO’s sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT in Philly in conjunction with the Philadelphia Phillies’ “Phillies Charities” are offering fans a chance to win cool up-close-and-personal Phillies prizes like a kid’s sleepover in the Phillies Clubhouse, playing a video game on PhanaVision against A.J. Burnett, enjoying lunch with Ryne Sandberg in his office, or having a private hitting clinic with Chase Utley.  It’s called the “Phantastic Auction” on phillies.com and runs today through May 15.  Proceeds from the auction benefit Phillies Charities.  Last year’s event raised $129,000.

edisonresearchEdison Research Offers ‘Moms & Media’ Webinar.  Extracting more data from its Infinite Dial 2104 research study, Edison Research is presenting a free webinar on May 8 at 2:00 pm ET titled “Moms and Media 2014: Mobile Is a Must.”  Edison says, “Moms are the target for most readers’ radio stations.  And for those moms, mobile has become a priority over the last 12 months.”  The presentation “features fresh tracking data about social networking, mobile device ownership, and simultaneous media consumption.  The report highlights how moms are adapting radio to make it more suitable to their mobile lifestyle.”  See more info here.

americaweekendlogoTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Envision Networks program “America Weekend” is added to the program schedule at WRJN, Racine, Wisconsin (Milwaukee market)…..BizTalkRadio programming is added to WWWE, Atlanta as the station picks up the following shows: “Investor’s Edge,” “Executive Leaders Radio,” “Speak Up and Stay Alive,” “Equity Strategies” and the weekend show “Animals Today.”

Sterling-Clippers Controversy/Race Relations Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 28-May 2.  The recorded racist rant by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, his subsequent lifetime ban from the NBA and talk of race relations in the U.S. were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the weak economic growth report and its effect on the Obama Administration’s image.  Following at #3 was speculation about candidates in the 2016 presidential race and the possible outcome of this year’s mid-term elections, and at #4 was President Obama’s Asia trip.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Friday, November 30, 2012

| November 30, 2012

November PPMs Generally Good to Talk Radio.  You can call it the “election bounce” if you like but some of the news/talk stations that did well in Arbitron’s November 2012 PPMs were ramping up in October and before.  Plus, the fall has traditionally been a good ratings period for news/talk whether there’s an election or not.  Of course, Hurricane Sandy played a major factor for stations in the New York and Middlesex-Somerset-Union markets.  Some of the stations worth noting include CBS Radio’s New York all newsers WCBS and WINS which jumped from a 3.8 to a 5.3 and a 4.0 to a 4.8, respectively.  Clear Channel’s Los Angeles talk juggernaut KFI continues to thrive inching up to a 5.3 from a 5.1 the month prior.  Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talker WLS bounced back up to a 4.1 after posting a 3.7 in October.  Likewise in Dallas-Fort Worth for Cumulus as WBAP-AM/FM pops up a half share to a 3.9.  Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston rose from a 3.4 in October to a 4.1 in November.  In Washington, DC Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM jumped from a 3.4 to a 4.2.  In Philadelphia, Merlin Media’s WWIQ hopped from 2.7 in October to a 3.6 in November.  Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta – which has been maintaining healthy numbers in the PPM for some time – vaults from a 6.8 to an 8.3 this month.  Cumulus’ Detroit talker WJR rose more than a full share from a 4.8 to a 5.9.  Public radio outlet KUOW, Seattle claimed the top spot in the November PPMs with a 5.5 share.  Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix went up a full share from a 4.9 to a 5.9.  Mixed results in Baltimore as Hearst’s WBAL fell from a 5.7 to a 5.0 while WCBM rose from a 3.0 to a 3.8 share.  Good news for pubcaster KOPB, Portland which went from a 5.3 to a 6.2 while Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL jumped from a 4.8 to a 5.5 share.  Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh leaped a full share from a 6.9 to a 7.9 share while its Sacramento sister KFBK also enjoyed a significant rise from a 5.6 to a 6.8 share.  In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) posted an outstanding 8.6 – up from a 6.2 in October – with help, no doubt, from Hurricane Sandy.  TALKERS’ sister publication RadioInfo has all the PPM data including Mike Kinosian’s analysis of the numbers.  You can find that here.

Laura Ingraham Back on Radio “Soon.”  That’s what the author, pundit and talk show host told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly.  During one of Laura Ingraham’s regular appearances on Fox News Channel with O’Reilly, he questioned her status in the talk radio world and she told him she will be back on the radio with another syndicator (she left Talk Radio Network at the end of her contract on Tuesday) very soon.  “I’m close to signing a new deal.  I’m very, very close.  But I’ll be back on the air probably in the next several days.”  Ingraham told O’Reilly she informed TRN she would be “terminating the deal” months ago and that it was time to move on.

Talk Host Tom Becka to Exit KRWK, Fargo “101.9 Talk FM.”  Talk radio pro Tom Becka has been serving as program director and talk show host at KRWK, Fargo since it flipped from rock to talk in March of this year.  Becka tells the Fargo Forum he’s returning to Omaha where he’s worked for years and has family.  Becka says any notion his departure has anything to do with the performance of the new format is not correct.  “The station has grown every month.  My experience with Radio Fargo-Moorhead was great and I’m proud of what we accomplished here in a short time. To say I’m leaving because of ratings would be erroneous.”  Radio Fargo-Moorhead is selling its cluster of stations to Midwest Family Communications.  The FCC has approved the license transfers but according to one source, the actual takeover may not happen until the spring.

Todd Schnitt Show to Leave Flagship WFLA, Tampa.  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt Tweets that his program – airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – will be off longtime flagship WFLA, Tampa after the December 18 program.  Schnitt further Tweets that the national syndication continues and is expanding under syndicator Compass.  No word what CC has in mind for afternoons at WFLA.  Currently, it delay-broadcasts Premiere NetworksSean Hannity from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but may have plans to move Hannity to the live PM drive slot.

Jim Isabella Named Evening Host at WNIR, Akron.  Journalist Jim Isabella has been doing fill-in work for WNIR for the past two years.  He now takes over the evening show formerly hosted by the late Tom Erickson who died on November 3 after a long illness.  Isabella most recently worked for the Akron Beacon Journal.   Station owners Bob and Bill Klaus note in a press release that Isabella, who was a frequent caller to the show hosted by the late Howie Chizek who passed away suddenly in June, made them more aware of his talents during his fill-in time in addition to receiving positive response from the station’s listeners.

Odds & Sods.  Watch for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean from the network’s “America Now with Andy Dean” on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ” this Sunday at 4:45 pm ET as he sits in a panel discussing the latest headlines in news and politics…..SiriusXM brings the Major League Baseball winter meetings to listeners via its MLB Network Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels.  The meetings take place in Nashville December 2 through 6 and the satcaster will have front office experts Jim Bowden, Jim Duquette and Steve Phillips there hosting various programs with other special expert guests including former pitcher Jeff Nelson.

Bubba the Love Sponge Offers Reward for Arrest of Animal Abuser.  After hearing about the case of a dog found in the Bradenton, Florida area  that had been attacked by someone with an axe, radio star Bubba the Love Sponge put up $1,000 of his own cash on top of the $500 being offered by the Animal Network for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible.  After hearing about the case, Tampa-area philanthropist Gary Kompothecras of the legal and medical referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY added another $1,000 to the reward to make the total $2,500.  Bubba reports to TALKERS that the dog, named Axel, is recovering from his injuries and will be available for adoption once he is healthy again.

Los Angeles Broadcaster David Courtney Dies at 56.  The Southern California radio community is mourning the loss of omnipresent “big voice” David Courtney, who passed away on Thursday, November 29.  Many considered Courtney the voice of Los Angeles sports, since for the past 23 years, he was the public address announcer of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.  He performed similar duties for MLB’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 18 years and NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers since October 2008.  Greater Los Angeles area radio listeners knew him for his frequent traffic and sports updates as part of the Total Traffic Network.  Over the last 20 years, Courtney was heard on a number of major Los Angeles radio outlets including KABC and KSPN, as well as KOLA in the Inland Empire.  His other radio background included stints at Houston’s KULF as executive producer of sports programming and that market’s KTRH, where he was weekend news anchor before landing a nightly, three-hour news/talk program.  New York City-born Courtney moved to Los Angeles in 1963 when his father, Alan, became president of MGM Television.  According to Courtney’s Twitter feed, he needed to miss Wednesday night’s Clippers game against Minnesota owing to the fact he was in the hospital awaiting an angiogram.  The 56-year-old Courtney is survived by his wife, Janet Fisher-Courtney.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage is picked up at Cumulus O&Os WABC, New York and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington for the 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm shift.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Remains Top Talk Radio Topic for Second Straight Week.  The struggle between the Obama administration and GOP congressmen to deal with impending tax hikes and spending cuts was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Benghazi investigation tied with the Susan Rice-GOP leaders meetings.  Following at #3 was the Israel-Gaza tensions with the clean-up of Hurricane Sandy 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.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.