Bannon Is the Latest in a Long Line of High-Profile Radio Talkers to Make a Splash in Politics. Whereas most of the media coverage of Breitbart News, LLC chairman Stephen K. Bannon’s appointment this week as CEO of the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign, portrays him primarily as a “pugilistic” media/business/financial figure, the controversial iconoclast was also a rising talent in the world of talk radio. Until taking leave this week to join the Trump campaign, Bannon has served during the past year as the anchor/lead personality on the “Breitbart News Daily” 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET program on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Patriot” channel – a position he performed so effectively that it landed him on the 2016 edition of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I distinctly got the impression, talking to Bannon, that he viewed himself as a ‘team-player’ in an ensemble production and not as the specific star of the show. However, the TALKERS editors felt that he was a very distinct and powerful voice on the program worthy of inclusion on the prestigious list which focuses on stand-out personalities.” Harrison adds, “There is an irony to Bannon now finding himself on the same team with former Fox News Channel head Roger Ailes – also involved with the Trump camp as a consultant. Bannon viewed Fox as being a significantly different type of news reporting agency than Breitbart and aggressively approached the organization as a prime competitor. He seemed quite proud of his depiction of Breitbart as being more news and journalistically oriented than Fox – as well as the rest of today’s big news media players – and more about reporting facts than personality-oriented opinion. This could be an example of politics making strange bedfellows.”
WEEI, Boston Morning Personality John Dennis Steps Away from Daily Duties. After 19 years as co-host of the morning show on Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston, John Dennis is leaving his role as co-host of the program to deal with health issues. In a statement announcing the move, Dennis says he’s making the decision on the advice of his doctors that he reduce his workload. Dennis has been partnered with Gerry Callahan since the show launched. Kirk Minihane joined the program in 2013. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary says the show will continue with Callahan and Minihane. “John is a Boston radio icon and will remain an important part of the WEEI family going forward. To that end, we have been working with John to define a new role for his considerable talents.” Zachary says Dennis will work with station advertisers, act as an ambassador to sponsors and community organizations, and occasionally host WEEI programs. “Most important to him is that John will continue his compassionate work with our annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and will appear in our live broadcasts from Fenway Park, August 29 and 30.” In April of 2015, Dennis took a leave of absence from the station to enter rehab for alcoholism.
Jan Mickelson Returns to WHO, Des Moines Airwaves. After suffering a stroke in November of last year that made him unable to host his daily 9:00 am to 11:30 am show on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines, Jan Mickelson returned to the air hosting a half-hour segment of his program live from the Iowa State Fair yesterday (8/18). Mickelson’s show has been hosted by fill-in personalities since last fall. Mickelson told KCCI-TV, Des Moines that after suffering the stroke and being treated in Iowa he traveled to China for a 2,400 needle acupuncture treatment and says he has a lot of his mobility back. Mickelson will continue to host the 11:00 am to 11:30 am portion of the show as he continues to rehabilitate.
Jeff Smulyan Offers to Take Emmis Communications Private. Via his E Acquisition Corp., Emmis Communications chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan is offering to take Emmis private by acquiring outstanding, publicly held shares of Emmis for $4.10 per share in cash. That’s a 3% premium above the August 18 closing price of Emmis’ stock ($4.00). Smulyan has backing lined up from Falcon Investment Advisors. The offer also includes the commitment to sell many of its publishing assets as well as WLIB-AM, New York and its four Terre Haute, Indiana signals – country WTHI, classic rock WWVR, hot AC WFNB, and sports talk simulcast WFNF/W258BA.
The Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of August 15-19. The presidential campaign, including Donald Trump’s staff changes that bring Breitbart chief Stephen K. Bannon aboard to head the campaign, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Close behind at #2 was the aftermath of the shooting death of an armed black man by police in Milwaukee. Coming in at #3 was the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the controversy over a phony robbery claim by U.S. swimmers, followed by the battle for Aleppo and Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. If you live in the Charlotte area, you might want to know that Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM is seeking an experienced board operator. It’s a part-time position of between 15 and 20 hours per week, including nights and weekends. If you’re interested, contact program director Jason Furst at email@example.com …..High School athletics is on the schedule this school year at E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee’s digital platform. “Preps Live” is broadcasting high school football play-by-play in 2016, airing 26 contests via WTMJ.COM and the WTMJ Radio App.
Community Conversation. On Wednesday afternoon, E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee held a “Community Conversation” to address the shooting death of a young black man by a Milwaukee police officer and the protests that followed. WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer tells TALKERS magazine, “The community response has been overwhelming. It’s WTMJ’s responsibility to help provide some longer-term historical context on this story. The visceral reactions to Saturday’s events need to be countered with real in-depth perspective. It’s really the story of a decades-long shift in the economy and social structure of an American city. Similar stories have unfolded across the country, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. These stories require more than ‘video showbiz’ of demonstrations and quick sound bites. We hope to make a difference, with a more thoughtful and deeper approach in our coverage.” Pictured here in the WTMJ studio are (clockwise from the left): WTMJ afternoon anchor/host, John Mercure; Reverend Willie Briscoe, minister, New Covenant Baptist Church; Toron Brown, businessman and Sherman Park resident; Earl Ingram, president, Earl Ingram Media and former talk show host at WMCS, Milwaukee.
Norm Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media Announces Debut of PodcastOne.com. Calling it “a single, online destination that makes it easier than ever to discover, download and enjoy the most popular podcasts,” Launchpad Digital Media debuts PodcastOne.com. In a statement, the company says the site is “already home to more than 200 major podcasts including those from some of the biggest names in radio, news and entertainment, such as: Adam Carolla, CBS News, Dr. Drew, Tom Green, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Laura Ingraham, Penn Jillette, Maria Menounos and more.” Chairman of Launchpad Digital Media and Courtside Entertainment Group, Norm Pattiz, states, “What others have done with music, we are doing with the spoken word – helping listeners discover new programming based on their listening habits. This is a powerful promotional vehicle for any program looking to grow audience in a big way. In addition, by delivering talk, comedy, news, sports and entertainment radio as on-demand podcasts accessible via the internet, Podcast One expands the reach of national radio programs to every listener in the country – eliminating void and uncleared markets, while helping radio grow its audience and receive fair value for it.” Users go to PodcastOne.com, pick their favorite podcasts and add them to their listen list. Podcast One suggests new shows based on what they already enjoy and the list is continuously updated with the freshest episodes and users can listen online or download and take their favorite shows with them. Launchpad Digital Media president Kit Gray says, “Podcast One helps people spend less time searching for great content and more time discovering and enjoying it. The site’s discovery feature and easy-to-use social network interface allow Podcast One to provide programs with unprecedented exposure to a previously untapped audience.”
Jim Bohannon to Receive the TALKERS magazine Lifetime Achievement Award. Veteran Dial Global radio talk personality Jim Bohannon has been named by the TALKERS editorial board as the 2013 recipient of the publication’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Bohannon began his illustrious on-air career in 1960 at KLWT in Lebanon, Missouri. He began working as a reporter at Mutual Broadcasting System in 1983 and went on to become the fill-in host for that network’s pioneering Larry King Show. In 1993 he took over the hosting reigns of that program which he maintained through its ownership by Westwood One to its present incarnation as a Dial Global property. Bohannon also hosts Dial Global’s “America in the Morning.” The recipient of numerous industry awards and honors, Jim Bohannon has been a member of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred every year since its inception in 1995 and is an inductee in the National Radio Hall of Fame. He will be presented the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award at the forthcoming national convention, Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6 in New York City.
Clear Channel Brings Bloomberg Radio to WXKS-AM, Boston. The comedy format currently airing on Clear Channel’s WXKS-AM, Boston – formerly Talk 1200 – will move to WXKS-FM’s HD-2 channel and Friday will see the debut of a full-time business news station. Bloomberg Radio programmer Al Mayers – who programmed news/talk WRKO, Boston almost 20 years ago – tells the Boston Herald, “There’s been a retrenchment in business coverage and we hope to come in there and fill that void. Boston’s a great center for the things that our customers are very interested in.” Mayers says there are 26 Bloomberg journalists stationed in Boston who will contribute to program content. He says there will be eight hosts and that programming will be guest-driven. The new venture will also include a relationship with Bentley University to use its faculty for content and commentary.
Alan Colmes Show Moves to Earlier Air Time on Fox News Radio. The late-night talk radio show hosted by Fox News personality Alan Colmes will begin airing live at an earlier time – 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – starting on Monday, March 4. The network announces that it will continue to offer a re-feed from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and that Colmes will do live programming during the later hours during times when there is major breaking news.
Melissa Etheridge Wins Gracie Award for Syndicated Radio Show. Musician and radio program host Melissa Etheridge will take home a 2013 Gracie Award for Outstanding Talk Show in the Entertainment/Information category for her Benztown Radio Networks-produced and syndicated radio program. The 38th Annual Gracie Awards will be presented on May 21, 2013, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Etheridge says in a statement, “I have won Grammys and an Oscar, but there is something especially meaningful about being recognized with a Gracie. I love radio, and it’s important to me to bring the voices of women to our audiences, as they share their respective truths about life, love and family — and as I share the same with them. It’s also a great pleasure to provide a forum where we can connect with each other about the music that moves us. I’m honored that people are responding to the show across the country and I thank the AWM Foundation for this award.”
Heavy Hundred to be Published Next Week. Hang in there talk radio enthusiasts. It’s almost here! The 2013 installment of TALKERS magazine’s signature annual feature, The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – otherwise known as “The Heavy Hundred” — is being readied for publication next week. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This feature is always a painstaking task for our editorial board to compile because it takes into account so many variables from the quantitative to the qualitative and plays such an important role in the lives and careers of so many established and rising stars of the industry.” Casey adds, “It also offers a snapshot impression to industry watchers outside the business of just what makes ‘talk radio’ tick. It defines its parameters, dispelling the widespread notion that spoken-word radio is any one single slice of a much bigger pie.”
Urban Talk/Music Hybrid WMCS, Milwaukee to Flip Formats. The All Pro Broadcasting–Times Shamrock venture called Milwaukee Radio Alliance that operates urban talk and music outlet WMCS, Milwaukee says it will flip the station’s format after 20 years targeting the African American community in the market. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Duane Dudek writes that Milwaukee Radio Alliance vice president Bill Hurwitz says the station has been losing money for the past 10 years and that the move is a business decision. He’s quoted saying, “Stations like this, basically super-serving the African American community — especially on AM — don’t exist in this country.” All Pro Broadcasting is operated by Green Bay Packers great Willie Davis and Hurwitz says if not for Davis, the station would have disappeared long ago. The move is affecting 15 full- and part-time employees including morning host Eric Von and PM drive talk host Earl Ingram.
The Conclave Names 2013 Rockwell Award Winners: Jaye Albright and Tom Kay. The Conclave Learning Conference announces country consultant Jaye Albright and Conclave executive director emeritus Tom Kay are this year’s recipients of the Rockwell Award for 2013. Executive director Bob Shannon says of this year’s honorees, “Jaye Albright represents the best broadcasting has to offer. Always a student of radio, she’s also one of our best teachers and her influence on country radio is unmatched.” Regarding Tom Kay, Shannon says, “This is recognition for a job well done. If it weren’t for Tom, the Conclave wouldn’t exist today. Giving him the Rockwell Award makes all the sense in the world. I can’t tell you how pleased I am.” On her receiving the honor, Albright states, “As I think about the past Rockwell honorees, and how much I respect what each of them has given to our business over many, many years, I remain a bit stunned that The Conclave feels that I belong among them. I’m humbled, surprised, flattered and honored.” Albright and Kay will receive the Rockwell Award and be honored during “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” in Minneapolis July 17, 18 and 19.
FCC Approves Journal Broadcast Group’s Purchase of WNOX, Knoxville. When the sale of Oak Ridge FM-owned news/talk WNOX, Knoxville to Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group was announced late last year, M&M Broadcasting said it intended to sue Oak Ridge for breach of contract implying it had a deal to buy the signal. Now, the FCC has approved the transfer of the license from Oak Ridge to Journal and the speculation about the station’s future format gets more intense. Based on a scan of recent domain registrations, it appears Journal is considering moving its country WCYQ “Q93” to WNOX’s 100.3 signal and may be prepping a launch of a classic hits format for the 93.1 signal, thereby eliminating news/talk from the mix. Domain registrations can be intentionally misleading so only time will tell for sure what Journal’s intentions really are.
Phil Grande’s “Phil’s Gang” Show to Be Distributed on Business TalkRadio Network. The independently produced and syndicated financial talk show “Phil’s Gang” – hosted by Phil Grande – will be available to Business TalkRadio Network affiliates beginning March 11.
Sequestration Battle, John Kerry in Germany, ObamaCare, Iran/North Korea Nuke Threats, Michelle Obama ‘Automatic Weapon’ Gaffe, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). The looming March 1 sequester; Secretary of State John Kerry’s European tour; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; nuclear weapons threats from Iran and North Korea; Michelle Obama’s “automatic weapons” gaffe; and the winter weather affecting large parts of the nation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.