Mary Walter Joins WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s ‘Mornings On The Mall.’ Radio pro Mary Walter is named the co-host of the “Mornings On The Mall” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Walter is working with co-host Brian Wilson. She takes over for Larry O’Connor, who recently moved to the afternoon drive daypart. Walter was most recently with iHeartMedia’s WHAS, Louisville, hosting the evening program. She’s been a frequent guest host on WMAL in addition to guest host stints on FOX News Radio and SiriusXM’s The Patriot channel. WMAL program director Bill Hess comments, “Mary’s experience, energy, and familiarity to our audience made her the perfect addition to our team.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Midday Show. The new midday show at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee is being unveiled. The station moved Jeff Wagner to the late morning slot that opened up with the retirement of Charlie Sykes at the end of last year. Now, taking over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is the “Scaffidi & Bilstad” show with Steve Scaffidi (center) and executive producer Erik Bilstad (left). Scaffidi was most recently mayor of suburban Oak Creek and an account executive at the Leonard & Finco Public Relations firm. He’s resigned from both posts to join WTMJ. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “We’re pleased to welcome Steve to our team. He brings a great depth of knowledge and local connection to add to his take on the news of the day. Steve is a Wisconsin native, has a deep background and so much life experience, beyond broadcasting.” News anchor and reporter Colleen Boland (right) will man the newsroom during the program. The show debuts on February 28.
ABC News Radio Makes Staffing Changes; Gearing Towards Covering Breaking News. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS magazine that the news organization is making staffing changes that signal a shift from putting its primary resources into newscasts and focusing more intently on the coverage of breaking news, “reflecting immediacy and producing additional program content” for their approximately 1,575 affiliates. ABC News Radio says it has parted ways with a handful of employees but is in the process of hiring for a number of positions that will exceed those eliminated. Those include: Affiliate Solutions Manager, Associate Producer, Country Reporter/Producer, Urban Reporter/Producer, and WGA Newswriter/Producer. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS, “These changes allow ABC News Radio to provide more two-ways, breaking news and anchored coverage which have become more important to stations. It is never easy when fellow employees leave and we wish the very best to these colleagues. The media landscape is always evolving and it’s critical we’re meeting stations’ needs every step of the way.”
Erik Kuselias to Host Daily Talk Show on Genesis Communications Florida Talk Stations. Known primarily for his work in the sports media business, Erik Kuselias is expanding his reach in Florida by hosting a daily, two-hour talk show on Genesis Communications-owned news/talk outlets WWBA, Tampa and WIXC, Titusville (on the Space Coast). Kuselias – a former ESPN and NBC Sports personality – currently hosts a morning drive sports talk show on the company’s sports talk duo WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. He’s continuing in that role in addition to the new program that airs from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda states, “This is a natural progression for EK. We launched EK on the sports stations in both Tampa and Orlando last year. He is incredibly talented and will produce one of talk radio’s best programs. He will also continue to provide his brand of content on the company digital platforms, ‘News Talk Florida’ and ‘Sports Talk Florida.’”
TALKERS Teams Up with PerfectYourPodcast.com to Present a Master Class Podcasting Webinar. Save the date and make your reservations now! Space is limited! TALKERS magazine has joined forces with PerfectYourPodcast.com to present a webinar titled “How to Launch and Grow a Successful Podcast,” a master class for radio professionals only. It will be a free, live online event scheduled for Wednesday, March 8 at 1:00 pm ET. PerfectYourPodcast.com was founded by well-known broadcaster Mike Carruthers, host and creator of the long-running, successful syndicated radio series, “Something You Should Know” (now also a top iTunes-charted podcast), who will be conducting the webinar. Designed for the professional radio broadcaster who is serious about profiting from podcasting, the event will focus on what radio people must know about this hot, rapidly-growing arena including programming, production, distribution, promotion and monetization. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are delighted to present this exciting event with our colleague Mike Carruthers who has really established himself over the years as a seasoned practitioner knowledgeable of all aspects of the growing podcasting industry. Radio broadcasters – by the nature of their backgrounds and experience – are perfectly suited to take advantage of the major opportunities to expand their brands and increase their revenues by learning the right ways to engage in podcasting.” To learn more and register for the webinar, please click here.
Carruthers: Now is the Time for Radio Broadcasters to Get Serious About Podcasting. Veteran syndicated radio broadcaster Mike Carruthers (host and creator of “Something You Should Know”) says most professional radio broadcasters are not yet taking advantage of the benefits and opportunities that can be developed as a natural extension of their already-proven skills and talent in the growing field of podcasting. In an extremely informative article posted today (2/21) Carruthers – CEO of PerfectYourPodcast.com – concisely explains the state of podcasting and what radio broadcasters need to know to move their careers forward into seriously developing their stake in this dynamic field. Carruthers will be presenting a free master class webinar (see story above) in association with TALKERS magazine titled “How to Launch and Grow a Successful Podcast” on Wednesday, March 8 at 1:00 pm ET. To read the Mike Carruthers article, please click here.
Bubba the Love Sponge Files New Counterclaim Against Nielsen. The first time Bubba the Love Sponge filed a counterclaim against Nielsen, the court denied the motion ruling that it was difficult to discern the relevant facts due to the heavily redacted documents supplied by plaintiff Nielsen. That counterclaim included third parties Cox Media Group and CMG employee (and WHPT, Tampa personality) Mike Calta. But the denial was without prejudice, allowing Bubba’s lawyers to try again. And he has, this time leaving Cox and Calta out of the counterclaim. The counterclaim still alleges Nielsen entered into a conspiracy with Cox Media Group to get Bubba off the air in Tampa and interfere with his ability to do business with Beasley Media Group (owner of Tampa affiliate WBRN). The specific counterclaims are: Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships, Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Civil Conspiracy.
KFYO, Lubbock, Texas Names Dave King & Matt Martin Morning Hosts. Friday (2/17) was the last day for the “First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac” on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KFYO, Lubbock, Texas. Assuming the morning show role are Dave King (right) and Matt Martin (left). The station says, “Both Dave and Matt are easy going, view the world from a conservative viewpoint, and want to interact with KFYO listeners. King is owner of Dave King Advertising in Lubbock. Matt Martin is a realtor with The Wyatt Team at Keller Williams.
KGO, San Francisco Rising Star Ethan Bearman Guests This Week on Harrison Podcast. One of talk radio’s brightest rising stars, Ethan Bearman, who hosts the daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm midday show on Cumulus Media’s heritage KGO, San Francisco, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Bearman, an extremely articulate Gen Xer, discusses the differences and similarities between the Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials as well as the societal impact of this era’s rapidly accelerating technological change. Harrison and Bearman cast a wide net, peering as far as 100 years into the future and covering such topics as self-driving cars, nano chip implantation in the human brain and Donald Trump’s obsession with the media. Not to be missed. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Neuhoff Ups Byerly to DOS and Associate GM for Decatur Station Group. Moving up from her general sales manager position at Neuhoff Communications’ Decatur, Illinois cluster is Kathy Byerly. She’s now director of sales and associate general manager for the group that includes news/talk WSOY, sports talk WDZ, hip hop WCZQ “HOT 105.5,” CHR WSOY-FM “Y103,” and country WDZQ “95Q.” Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey states, “Kathy is a wonderful success story. She has grown a career from the front desk to market leadership. You can’t get much better than that. The group of Decatur stations and digital products are not only the market leaders, they also have been recognized among the best in the industry. Kathy will help support those traditions while driving more business to our advertising partners.”
Hanging Out at the Club. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk host Michael Savage and his son, Rockstar energy drink founder Russ Weiner, crossed paths with President Donald Trump at the chief executive’s famous Palm Beach, Florida private club, Mar-a-Lago, this weekend. They were attending a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy when the president stopped by to say hello. Pictured (l-r): Ruddy, Trump, Savage, and Weiner.
Limbaugh-Touted Book Debuts at #6 on NYT Bestseller List. The latest book by conservative writer David Horowitz – Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America – debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list at #6 in the hardcover nonfiction books and e-book/hardcover nonfiction categories. Newsmax reports that the book was released the week of President Trump’s inauguration and is being praised by Rush Limbaugh, among other conservative media figures, for its predictions about Trump’s agenda. Horowitz is founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
New Trump Travel Order, McMaster Named National Security Advisor, Trump’s Sweden Comment, McCain vs Trump, UK’s Anti-Trump Debate, Uber Sexual Harassment Scandal, Yiannopoulos Controversies, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The Trump Administration issues new travel order exempting green card holders; President Donald Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster national security advisor; the controversy over Trump’s allusion to crime in Sweden and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s allegations that violent crime there has spiked due to immigrants; Republican Senator John McCain’s role as a major critic of Trump’s policies; the British House of Commons debates denying President Trump’s state visit; the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber’s corporate headquarters and the company’s hiring former AG Eric Holder to investigate; the controversies surrounding media figure Milo Yiannopoulos, including his being uninvited to CPAC and Simon and Schuster refusing to release his book; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix market broadcast legend Pat McMahon is being roasted on March 15 at local comedy club Stand Up Live in an event being organized by Bonneville news/talk outlet KTAR-FM. The “Tip of the Hat to Pat” roast is being hosted by KNIX personality Tim Hattrick and will feature rock legend Alice Cooper, as well as local celebrities Jude LaCava from Fox 10, John Holmberg from KUPD, authors Jana Bommersbach and Rita Davenport and former ADL director Bill Straus. McMahon says, “I’m feeling both honored and terrified at the prospect of this event. But you can be sure that I’ll be able to dish it out, just as well as I can take it.”…..New York Mets flagship station WOR, New York announces it will air play-by-play for 15 spring training games, beginning on February 24 when the Mets take on the Boston Red Sox…..The New York Times recently published a feature story about Premiere Networks host George Noory. In the piece, the “Coast to Coast AM” host discusses how “Coast to Coast AM” has evolved over the years, his open approach to stories and topics, and his relationship with his audience. Read the story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Atlanta cluster of Cox Media Group, Jaleigh Long is promoted to director of sales. She moves up from her general sales manager role. She’ll oversee the sales efforts for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM,” and country simulcast WNGC/WTSH “Your Georgia Country.”…..At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois “104.9 The X,” Zander – who’s been morning host and PD since joining the station in August of last year – moves to the afternoon drive slot. At the same time, Lori joins the station from crosstown competitor WKGL “96.7 The Eagle.”…..In the Lexington, Kentucky market, iHeartMedia drops sports talk on the simulcast of WWTF-AM and translator W239DJ at 97.7 FM and flips it to rock as “WTF 97.7 Lexington’s Rock Alternative.” Air personalities include Aly, Big Rig, Audrey, and Shroom…..Binnie Media says good bye to classic music on its WBQX, Thomaston, Maine and translator W245AA, Portland at 96.9 FM. WBQX takes on the classic hits format “FRANK FM” while the translator is simulcasting country station WTHT, Auburn “99.9 The Wolf.”
iHeartRadio Music Awards Announces Best New Artist Nominees. When the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards take place on Sunday, March 5 at the Forum in Los Angeles, one of the awards to be given will be the Best New Artist. The ultimate winner will be chosen by fans from all categories of popular music. The first step was naming the nominees in each category. Now, the finalists have been named. They are: Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist: The Strumbellas; Best New Country Artist: Kelsea Ballerini; Best New Hip-Hop Artist: Chance the Rapper; Best New Latin Artist: CNCO; Best New Regional Mexican Artist: Joss Favela; Best New Pop Artist: The Chainsmokers; and Best New R&B Artist: Bryson Tiller. The awards show will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET and simulcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as on iHeartRadio.
Time 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.
Mike 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).
Cumulus 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. Jake 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.
Presidential 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.
Dan 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.
Round 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.
Michael 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 from 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.
Talk 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.
Howard 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 – 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 announced. 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.”
Art 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.”
Kirby 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, effective 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.”
WOWO, 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.
Talk 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 2016 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 history. 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 a 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 Dallas 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.
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.
Cumulus 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; 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.”
Bill 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 Gearhart 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.”
Detroit 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 staunch 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 long 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 Salem 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.
Legendary 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.
Movers 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 Media; Howard 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.
Aaron 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.”
Talk 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.”
Michigan 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.
Ramsey-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.”
RadioIO 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 exclusive 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.
KJOC, 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.”
Dino 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 any 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.
WABC, 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.
Odds & 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.
Edison 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.
TALKERS 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.
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 Networks’ Sean 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.
‘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.