Tag: "WMVP"

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

| August 12, 2020

Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.

Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”

Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.

COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.

Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”

Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”

Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.

Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.

Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on.  I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.”  … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” …  Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan  Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together  on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

| July 2, 2020

COMING THIS WEEKEND:  Independence Day Weekend Edition of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, will be posted tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at 3:00 pm ET.  This new episode titled “Self-Evident!” will look back at this past week of June 29-July 3, 2020 in addition to paying tribute to the founding of America.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital Talk RadioMatthew B. Harrison, law professor, Western New England University / VP Goodphone CommunicationsLincoln Ware, talk show host WDBZ, Cincinnati; Dan Yorke, talk show host, WPRO, Providence; Doug Stephan, talk show host, “DJV Show” / talk show host, “American Family Farmer.” This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode (posted Friday 7/3 at 3:00 pm ET),  please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

LiveXLive Closes on PodcastOne Acquisition. The live stream and on-demand platform LiveXLive Media, Inc announces it has closed on its acquisition of PodcastOne. LiveXLive says in a press release, “PodcastOne, which recorded revenue of $27.5 million in calendar 2019, will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of LiveXLive. The acquisition is expected to be accretive and will strengthen LiveXLive’s balance sheet as well as diversifying its business model with a significant advertising component.” PodcastOne’s library includes more than 300 podcasts, including: “The Adam Carolla Show”, “The Big Podcast with Shaquille O’Neal,” A&E’s “Cold Case Files,” “Hotboxin with Mike Tyson,” and more. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz joins LiveXLive as a significant shareholder and remains executive chairman. Under the terms of the acquisition, LiveXLive acquired 100% of the equity interests of Courtside Group, Inc., the owner and operator of PodcastOne, and issued to stockholders of PodcastOne approximately 5.36 million restricted shares of LiveXLive’s common stock, which are subject to a 12-month lock-up period and certain trading restrictions thereafter.

TALKERS News Notes. Baton Rouge alt-weekly The Advocate reports that Guaranty Broadcasting’s sports talk KNXX-FM “104.5 ESPN” shuffles its programming lineup. Writer Kyle Whitfield says the station breaks up the “Sports Today” duo of Charles Hanagriff and Jimmy Ott with Hanagriff being partnered with former LSU running back Jacob Hester for the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm “Hangin’ with Hester and Hanny” show and Ott starting his own “Gametime” program airing from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm…..FOX News announces that after an independent investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, it has fired “America’s Newsroom” co-anchor Ed Henry. The company sent a memo to staffers written by FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace explaining Henry’s departure. Henry’s attorney, Catherine Foti, issued a public statement that Henry denies the allegations and “is confident that he will be vindicated after a full hearing in an appropriate forum.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that radio producer Carl Amari’s golden age of radio programming is moving from Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM to Salem Media Group’s crosstown WIND-AM. WGN recently announced it is dropping the weekend overnight “WGN Radio Theatre” program. Now, the syndicated “Hollywood 360” – co-hosted by Amari and Lisa Wolf – will air from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on WIND-AM. Salem Chicago RVP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “We are excited to have ‘Hollywood 360’ and Carl Amari back on AM 560. Carl expertly weaves together a unique mix of content that has continued to attract and entertain listeners for years, and we look forward to welcoming them back.”…..This might fall into the “at least they spelled our name right” category. Daily Herald columnist Jim O’Donnell writes about the state and future of ESPN’s WMPV, Chicago “ESPN 1000” – being operated by Good Karma Brands under the leadership of general manager Mike Thomas. O’Donnell is clearly not impressed with sports talk in Chicago but gives Thomas – who arrived in his home state back in January after leading the programming at Entercom’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” – the opportunity to talk up the changes taking place at WMVP.

‘Mightier 1090’ in San Diego to Use SportsGrid Tech Platform. When the new iteration of talk programming takes to the airwaves of San Diego on XEPRS as “The Mightier 1090” sometime this summer, SportsGrid’s cloud-based automation and live production tools will be used by the station. SportsGrid says its production services will stream the “Mightier 1090” audio feed through a low-latency IP connection from the cloud to the station’s transmitter. Marketing executive Bill Hagen is leading operations of the soon-to-debut station. He says, “I’ve listened to the people and the dream of bringing ‘The Mighty 1090 AM’ back to Southern California has now become a reality. The legendary tradition is back in a Mightier fashion, allowing for carefully thought out, desired programming to once again serve the Southern California region.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/Mask Controversy, Seattle CHOP Ends, Policing in America, Confederate & Colonial-Era Monuments Issue, Russia-Taliban Bounty Report, Facebook Advertiser Boycott, Court Strikes Trump Asylum Order and Vacate Mary Trump Book Restraint, and Status of Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1). The rise in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future outbreaks tied with the controversy over the wearing of masks to diminish transmission; the Seattle police clear the CHOP in the aftermath of two killings in the area; the criticism of policing in the U.S.; the movement to remove Confederate and Colonial-era monuments; the report that Russia has been offering bounties to Taliban fighters for killing U.S. servicemen; Facebook deals with an advertiser boycott over its handling of “hate speech” and “misinformation”; a court strikes down the Trump administration’s order denying asylum requests from people from Latin American nations and a court vacates the restraint on Mary Trump’s book; and the status of American sports leagues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York hip hop outlet WWPR “Power 105.1” is presenting “A Celebration of Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon Album Release” starting at midnight tonight (7/3). iHeartMedia’s “Power 105.1” will celebrate the life and works of Pop Smoke by playing songs from Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon at the top of every hour, plus exclusive Pop Smoke interviews with Power 105.1’s Angie Martinez, behind-the-scene photos and performances from Power 105.1’s POWERHOUSE available at Power1051’s website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, as well as check-ins from 50 Cent, Steven Victor, Lil Tjay, Fivio Foreign, The Breakfast Club and more…..The weekend country radio show “B-Dub Radio Saturday Night” debuts Saturday (7/4) in partnership with its syndication development partner, Skyview Networks. Host Bryan “B-Dub” Washington is throwing a Fourth of July party featuring country radio’s superstar duo LoCash as a special guest to celebrate the show’s re-launch with listeners across the country. The show has added new affiliate stations, including iHeartMedia’s WEBG, Chicago “BIG 95.5,” whose PD Lance Houston says, “B-Dub has added such a great energy to ‘BIG 95.5’ on Saturday nights! If you want your station to sound fun again on Saturday night, while staying true to the format and the sound of country music, then this is the show for you.”…..Programming pro Mike McCoy is named operations manager at Stephens Media Group’s Rochester, New York that includes adult contemporary WRMM-FM “Warm 101.3,” alternative WZNE-FM “94.1 The Zone,” and adult hits WFKL-FM “Fickle 93.3.” He will also program “Warm 101.3” and “Fickle 93.3” SVP of programming Bob Thornton says, “Mike is exactly the kind of person we need in the Rochester market. His relentless pursuit of excellence, leadership qualities and vast experience will take this cluster to new heights.”

Thursday, March 12, 2020

| March 12, 2020

Broadcasting Conferences Postponed/Cancelled; TALKERS Conference on for June 5. Radio industry watchers are by now aware that the National Association of Broadcasters has cancelled April’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.  That convention may be rescheduled for later in the year.  Radio trade publication AllAccess has postponed its Worldwide Radio Summit originally scheduled for later this month in Los Angeles to an unspecified future date.  Obviously, these decisions come on the heels of recommendations by health officials to avoid large crowds in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  At this point in time, the TALKERS magazine conference scheduled for June 5 in New York City will go on as planned, however according to publisher Michael Harrison, “That situation will ultimately be determined within the next month based on the facts at that time.”  The date of the conference is a full 12 weeks from tomorrow, and it is our hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be under control by then, making such a gathering a safe one to attend.  Please continue to monitor TALKERS magazine for new information about the conference agenda.

Saga Communications Reports 2019 Q4 and Full Year Financial Data.  Releasing its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2019 and for the full year of 2019, Saga Communications reports net operating revenue of $31.8 million for Q4, down 3.5% from the same period in 2018.  For the full year of 2019, Saga reports net operating revenue of $123.1 million, a decrease of 1.4% over the full year of 2018.  The company adds that station operating expense decreased $711 thousand to $23.1 million and operating income decreased $575 thousand to $5.4 million.  Net income decreased $454 thousand to $3.8 million for the quarter.  Saga reports it had $44 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2019 and $47 million as of March 9, 2020.  The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the year.

COVID-19 Declared Pandemic, Trump Suspends European Travel, NBA Suspends Season, Dow Plummets, Saudi Arabia Launches Oil War, and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). The World Health Organization’s declaration that COVID-19 is a now an official pandemic; President Trump’s address to the nation and his suspension of travel from Europe; the National Basketball Association suspends its season after a player tests positive for the coronavirus; the Dow sinks even further as the world’s financial markets continue to be hit by the effects of the coronavirus; Saudi Arabia’s oil war against Russia and its effect on global oil prices; and the race between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the nomination were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” is cancelling two of its upcoming remote broadcasts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first cancellation is a live appearance by the ensemble cast of the show – including host Tom Griswold, on March 26 – for the Opening Day of the Cincinnati Reds baseball season.  That appearance was to have featured a live broadcast with Cumulus Cincinnati affiliate WOFX-FM.  The show has also canceled an April 3 live broadcast at a Charleston, West Virginia casino as part of affiliate WKLC-FM’s celebration of its 40th year as a classic rock station…..Talk host and digital media producer Alex Jones was arrested for DWI in Travis County, Texas early Tuesday morning.  This came about four hours after police were summoned to a home for a disturbance being reported by Jones’ wife.  The Austin Statesman reports that Jones’ wife told authorities the two had had a physical confrontation earlier in the day but were at that time having a verbal fight.  After Jones left the house, she called authorities told them he was driving and “was possibly drinking.”  Jones was later released on $3,000 bond…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” is adding NBC Sports Chicago anchor/reporter Chuck Garfien to its staff as a White Sox expert.  Garfien will appear on the “Kap & Company,” “Carmen and Jurko,” and “Waddle and Silvy” shows.  Feder also writes today that all next week, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder will sit in for Big John Howell on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM afternoon show.  The duo – formerly in middays at crosstown WGN-AM – began producing a podcast for WLS last month.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Through a deal with Canadian syndicator Orbyt Media, Premiere Networks is bringing its hip-hop morning show “The Breakfast Club” to radio in Canada.  The show – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God – debuts on Stingray Group’s CFXJ-FM, Toronto on Monday (3/16)…..On-air pro Taylor Dickson joins Townsquare Media’s alternative WRRV, Middletown, New York (Hudson Valley market) as morning drive co-host and music director.  WRRV brand manager Bill Dunn says, “Taylor was a rock star in our internship program a few years ago and I remember her asking all the right questions.  She’s worked hard to get to this point and has a very bright future ahead of her.”…..Morning personality Stephen Clark announces he’s leaving his position with Entercom’s classic hits WOMC, Detroit to pursue his career in country music.  He tweeted, “Two years ago, shortly after I announced my retirement from Channel 7, WOMC came to me with an offer to do the morning show in hopes of moving into a competitive position.  I had plans to focus more on my music in Nashville….but, hey, I like a challenge.  With the awesome team of JoAnne, Jason, Julia and me, in just two years we are now consistently in the top tier of morning shows… but I still have a music career to focus on and getting up every morning at 4:30 doesn’t mesh well with the late-night nature of live music.”…..Entercom announces the band Local Natives will perform at the RADIO.COM Live event series at the HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles tonight (3/12) at 8:00 pm ET.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “The RADIO.COM Live event series is excited to welcome Local Natives to the stage.  Our listeners from coast-to-coast will get a preview of the band’s performance before they go on tour in May.”

Friday, December 13, 2019

| December 13, 2019

Report: Liberty Media Seeks Control or Ownership of iHeartMedia.  According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Liberty Media is asking the Department of Justice for permission to up its stake in iHeartMedia.  Currently, Liberty owns 4.8% of iHM.  The WSJ’s sources say the deal that Liberty is seeking permission for would give it control or “outright ownership.”  One source says Liberty has not decided “what kind of transaction, if any, it would proceed with should it receive permission.”  Liberty Media currently owns 33% of Live Nation – the concert business that then-Clear Channel spun off in 2005 – and 71% of SiriusXM Holdings.  The WSJ piece notes that Justice Department officials are asking “interested parties” how they’d be affected by a major live events business and a leading radio company being co-owned.

Radzik to Program ’98.5 The Sports Hub’ in Boston. At Boston sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Rick Radzik is named the station’s new program director, effective immediately.  Beasley Media Group announces Radzik is assuming the role being vacated by Mike Thomas, who heads to Chicago to become market manager for the ESPN-owned and Good Karma-managed WMVP “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik has been the station’s assistant program director since the station signed on in August of 2009.  Prior to that, he’d served for 15 years as a producer at all-news WBZ-AM, overseeing Boston Bruins broadcasts.  He began his career at crosstown WEEI-AM (when it was a news station) producing the Bruins and Boston Celtics broadcasts, as well as various talk shows.  Beasley Media Group Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “Rick has been a key member of the ‘Sports Hub’ programming team since the station’s inception.  The knowledge he has amassed over the past decade, coupled with his relationships and passion for continuing our winning history, make him uniquely qualified to lead the ‘Sports Hub’ into the 2020s and beyond!”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (12/13).  The new episode titled “Meddling and Muddling!” reviews the week of December 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City;  Joan Michelson; Executive producer/host, GreenConnectionsRadio.com; Bob Lonsberry, talk show host, WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; and Scott James Matheson, Mayor-elect, Valdosta, Georgia. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It then airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

‘Cats Roundtable’ Show Joins ‘Florida Man Radio.’ The weekly “Cats Roundtable” show hosted by Red Apple Group president and CEO John Catsimatidis is being added to the program schedule at JVC Media’s WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WYGC-FM, High Springs (Gainesville market) “Florida Man Radio.”  Catsimatidis’ company Red Apple Media recently entered into a deal to acquire venerable WABC-AM, New York from Cumulus Media for $12.5 million.  That deal has not closed yet.  JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “‘The Cats Roundtable’ radio show is perfect for ‘Florida Man Radio.’  John’s unique take on the news and his A-list celebrity interviews are fascinating conversations that keep listeners coming back for more.  We have been very successful with his show on our Long Island station and know this is a great fit for our growing ‘Florida Man Radio’ network.”

The Trump Impeachment Proceedings Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 9-13. The articles of impeachment against President Trump were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing in the top spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Tied at #2 this week was Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections and the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s surveillance practices.  At #3 was Time magazine’s selection of Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year and the greater topic of climate change, followed by the deadly Jersey City shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. The WGBH, Boston and PRI-produced program “Innovation Hub” takes a look at the rise of conservative talk radio and its influence on the America political scene on its most recent episode.  Joining host Kara Miller is author and University of Pennsylvania scholar-in-residence Brian Rosenwald.  His book, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States (2019, Harvard University Press) examines the theory.  The teaser of the radio show says, “When Rush Limbaugh’s conservative talk radio program began in Sacramento in the 1980s, no one could have guessed that he would not only reinvigorate AM radio but also create a new format that would help remold the American political landscape.”  Check out the program here…..The WFAN watch continues as Newsday’s Neil Best writes that the odds-on replacement for Mike Francesa in afternoon drive on the Entercom sports talk station is midday team Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno.  He also says that Maggie Gray and Mark Malusis are “favorites” to serve as the midday personalities.  Francesa left his regular full-time role with the station a couple of weeks ago but will contribute to The Fan’s on-air content with a nightly, half-hour show at 6:00 pm.  WFAN has made no announcements about its plans for the station as of today (12/13)…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder writes today about longtime Chicago radio personality Turi Ryder’s new podcast that takes its name from her fictionalized memoir, She Said What?  Ryder co-hosts the show with Kathryn Lake and she tells Feder she’ll drop two podcasts each week, no longer than 15 minutes in length.  You can check it out here…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime radio journalist Pete Combs, who died in Atlanta after a three-month battle with lung cancer at age 61.  Combs had been working at Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta since May of 2018.  He previously worked for WSB from 2006 through 2015 but left for KOMO-AM, Seattle before returning last year.  During his career, he worked at stations including: WGST-AM, Atlanta; KRLD-AM and the Texas State Network, Dallas; USA Radio News, Dallas; WINK-AM Fort Myers; and WBT-AM, Charlotte.  He also reported for TV station in Charlotte and Tulsa during the early 1990s.  See the rest of WSB’s tribute to Combs here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales pro Dawn Girocco is named director of sales for Cumulus Media’s country KSCS “New Country 96.3,” country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf,” and CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3” in Dallas.  She was most recently vice president/market manager for Cumulus Los Angeles.  Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett comments, “Being able to get someone of Dawn Girocco’s experience and success back in our company to join our Dallas team as a key sales management leader is a great plus for Dallas and our company.  Dawn’s past success in Los Angeles speaks for itself and we can’t wait for her to get started here in Texas.”…..Alpha Media promotes Danny Dwyer to assistant program director for country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” and inks him to a new, multi-year deal.  Dwyer will continue to host the midday show and continue his role as music director.  Alpha Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker states, “The energy and dedication Danny brings on and off the air to our ‘Bull Nation’ listeners, musicans, artists, labels, advertisers’ and community partners are an incredible asset to our station.  His leadership with station events and promotions including our St. Jude Radiothon and Countryfest concert are irreplaceable.”…..Seven-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette, who is planning a 31-date North American tour next year, performed a special acoustic set of the album Jagged Little Pill in its entirety on December 2 at New York’s legendary The Apollo.  That show will be broadcast exclusively on SiriusXM today (12/13) through December 22…..Air personality Brittany Rose joins Townsquare Media’s CHR WJBQ, Portland as co-host alongside Lori Voornas and Jeff Parsons on the “Q Morning Show,” effective January 2.   She was most recently with Townsquare Media’s WEBB-FM, Augusta “B98.5.”…..Cumulus Media’s alternative WWWX, Appleton, Wisconsin “96.9 The Fox” announces the nationally syndicated “The Dave and Mahoney Morning Show” takes over the morning slot, effective Monday (12/16).

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

| October 8, 2019

Mike Thomas Exits Boston’s ‘Sports Hub’ for WMVP, Chicago Market Manager Role. This move means a program director role at one of the top-performing sports talk radio stations in America is open.  Beasley Media Group announces that it is “looking for the Bill Belichick of sports radio” as it seeks a PD for WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  Mike Thomas, who also serves as Beasley Media Group’s national spoken word and podcast brand manager, announces he’s leaving Boston to accept a new position in Chicago – market manager for Good Karma-operated WMVP “ESPN 1000” – in order to be closer to his family and fulfill a career goal of becoming a market manager.   Beasley says he will continue to remain as a consultant to the station and actively participate in the search process.  Thomas says, “This was an incredibly difficult decision.  This radio station is a once-in-a-career station, with a once-in-a-career staff.  I would like to thank Caroline and Brian Beasley and the entire corporate team for everything. Locally, Mary Menna, Cadillac Jack, and Buzz Knight have been fantastic to work with!  I also want to thank every single ‘Sports Hub’ employee for 10 years of winning!  I know our relationships won’t end here.”  Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “I want to thank Mike for the instrumental part he has played in leading our award-winning brand throughout its first decade and wish him continued success in his next chapter.  They’re big shoes to fill and we look forward to meeting a lot of great talent in the process as the coming days and weeks unfold.”

Ex-FOX News Radio Personality Todd Starnes Launches Syndicated Commentary.  Former FOX News Radio personality Todd Starnes – who exited the company last week – announces he’s unveiling a syndicated commentary that “more than 750 radio stations have signed on to carry.”  The “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” short-form program is produced by his Starnes Media Group and syndicated by Hamilton Strategies.  Additionally, a three-hour, caller-driven radio talk show will debut on November 4.  Starnes says that program will feature major newsmakers, entertainers, artists, and Christian leaders.  He says, “I am first and foremost a radio guy.  I love the format and I believe that radio will continue to have a lasting impact on the nation.  We are also deeply committed to super-serving our radio affiliates with first class service.”  The commentaries are broadcasting on Bott Radio Network, American Family Radio, CSN Network, and a number of commercial radio stations.  For information about broadcasting Starnes’ commentaries or his talk show, contact Deborah Hamilton at Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.

Tammy O’Dell Assumes VP/Market Manager Role at Cumulus Columbia. Sales and management pro Tammy O’Dell is named vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Columbia, South Carolina cluster.  This is a return to Cumulus after serving most recently as local sales manager for Spectrum Reach in Cary, North Carolina.  She was formerly Cumulus’ VP/MM in Charleston, South Carolina.  The Columbia cluster includes sports talk duo WNKT-FM “107.5 The Game” and WISW-AM “1320 The Fan” and three music brands.    Cumulus Media EVP of operations Bob Walker says, “We are excited to welcome Tammy back to the Cumulus family in Columbia.  Her passion for the Carolina region and her success in building a winning sales culture make her a great addition to the team in Columbia.”

SiriusXM Woos Denise Karkos from TD Ameritrade. Marketing pro Denise Karkos is joining SiriusXM as the new chief marketing officer, a position in which she’ll be responsible for brand and digital marketing of both the SiriusXM and Pandora brands and helping support and drive the growth of SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners.   Karkos was most recently CMO at TD Ameritrade where she was named 2019 CMO of the Year by Ad Age.  SiriusXM president, sales, marketing and operations Jennifer Witz says, “Denise is exceptionally innovative and forward thinking and we are very pleased and excited that she will be leading our marketing efforts as we continue to grow the SiriusXM and Pandora brands.  She and her team will execute a cohesive marketing strategy to drive brand relevance and consideration through to customer conversion, with a deep focus on digital, social, and mobile marketing.”

FOX Sports Radio Reports Digital Audience Gains. Citing data from August and September of this year, FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Networks – is announcing audience growth “across several digital platforms, including podcasts, streaming and www.FOXSportsRadio.com.”  FOX Sports Radio says it set a new record for total monthly podcast listens in September, reaching more than 11 million monthly listens.  It also notes total podcast listens have grown nearly 60% since January.  FSR says it experienced its third-highest streaming audience in the history of the network with the streaming numbers growing 8% from August of 2018 to August 2019 and a 25% increase over August 2017.

Cumulus CEO Mary Berner to Receive Gracies Leadership Award. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is honoring Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner with a 2019 Gracies Leadership Award.  The Gracies Leadership Awards are presented annually to women executives who have made a significant impact on the media industry, while also spurring to action and emboldening other female leaders.  The award will be presented to Berner and five other female media executives at the Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Thursday, November 21, 2019.  AFWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media is proud to showcase female executives for their extraordinary accomplishments and deep contributions across the media landscape.  The Gracies Leadership Awards are one way AWM recognizes and connects women who serve in all areas of the media and entertainment industry.  By honoring these outstanding women, including Mary Berner, we are empowering all women, at every level, to take that next step in elevating their careers and their contributions.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Denver, Bonneville brings former Denver Broncos offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus aboard as co-host of “The Drive” on sports talk KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.”  Polumbus joins hosts Darren “DMac” McKee and Nick Ferguson on the afternoon drive show.  He takes over for Tom Nalen who exits the station for personal reasons…..A “Free Talk Live” co-host is making news as he takes on two other candidates for mayor of Keene, New Hampshire.  But there’s more to the story.  In August, Rich Paul filed in New Hampshire probate court to change his name to Nobody.  Today’s ballot gives voters three choices for mayor: Mitchell “Mitch” Greenwald, George S. Hansel, and Nobody.  “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman tells TALKERS magazine Nobody’s mayoral campaign is just the beginning.  He’s already announced his 2020 campaign to take on New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and is even considering a presidential run in a few more years.  Check out his campaign website: ElectNobody.com…..Edison Research is making three of its presentations originally delivered at the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas available to the industry at its website. Available for your perusal are: “The Top 10 Findings from Edison Research in 2019 (so far)”; “The Secret to Longer TSL”; and “What Does it Mean for Radio to Be Local.” Check them out here…..In Northern Michigan, an application is filed with the FCC to transfer the licenses of eight stations from Sovereign Communications, LLC to AMC Partners Escanaba, LLC.  The stations are: news/talk WMIQ-AM, classic rock WIMK-FM, and hot AC WZNL-FM in the Iron Mountain/Escanaba area and news/talk WDMJ-AM and WIAN-AM, country WJPD-FM, classic rock WUPK-FM, and oldies WNGE-FM in the Marquette area.  Sovereign Communications is headed by Bill Gleich.  AMC Partners Escanaba is a Wisconsin-based company headed by Terry Shockley and Chris BernierKALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction…..The University of San Francisco and Cumulus Media San Francisco announce a multi-year agreement for KTCT-AM “KNBR 1050 The Sports Leader” to serve as flagship station for the school’s men’s basketball games.  Pat Olson will serve as play-by-play voice for broadcasts of the USF Dons games.

Impeachment Inquiry, Bidens Investigation, Trump’s Syria Decision, 2020 Presidential Race, Omar Files for Divorce, NBA-China Rift, and Joker Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7). The impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the report of a second whistleblower; the reported activities of Joe and Hunter Biden with regard to business in foreign countries; President Trump’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Northern Syria in deference to Turkey; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar files for divorce amidst rumors of an affair with a Democratic operative; the rift between the NBA and China over the Houston Rockets’ general manager’s comments; and the Joker film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Bay Area sales pro David Drutz is named vice president and market manager for Alpha Media’s San Jose duo KBAY-FM and KEZR-FM.  Drutz was most recently vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco.  Drutz says, “I’m incredibly excited to be part of a company as visionary as Alpha Media and lead classic hits KBAY and hot AC KEZR.  Both brands not only dominate Silicon Valley but also have tremendous reach throughout the Bay Area.  It’s going to be great fun in managing these stations to even more success!”…..Programming pro JT Bosch is promoted to senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Greensboro station group, effective October 14.  Bosch will also serve as program director for rock WVBZ-FM “105.7 MAN UP!”  Bosch has been with iHeartMedia since 2001 and most recently served as the assistant program director, music director and afternoon show host for country WKKT, Charlotte “96.9 The Kat.”  He says, “The opportunity to lead our programming efforts in Greensboro is so incredible.  We are ushering in a new era and I’m honored to be a part of it.  Thanks to the entire iHeartMedia senior leadership team for their continued support.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed Mike Moore program director for country WKHX-FM, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5.”  Moore comes to Atlanta from his most recent position as VP of programming for Entercom’s Portland cluster where he also programmed country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf.”  Cumulus EVP of content and audience Brian Philips states, “As we met a strong field of senior candidates for WKHX, Mike Moore pushed his way to the front with thoughtful ideas and hard-driving enthusiasm.  His wartime country radio leadership experience will enable him to build the team that changes the Atlanta landscape.”

Thursday, August 29, 2019

| August 29, 2019

Good Karma Brands Inks Deal to Operate ESPN’s WMVP-AM, Chicago. Yesterday’s announcement by sports talk radio WMVP-AM owner ESPN that Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands would begin operating “ESPN 1000” beginning next month took the industry by surprise.  But as ESPN Audio SVP Traug Keller says, Karmazin’s company has a long track record with ESPN.  “Good Karma has proven to be an excellent local affiliate that has shown expertise in local media operations and sales while being a strong steward of the ESPN brand.”  Keller adds, “This is a smart business decision that allows us to continue to serve local sports fans with the compelling content they crave.”  As a result of this long-term LMA between ESPN Radio and Good Karma, the latter will “expand its affiliate relationship with ESPN Radio and the station will retain the ‘ESPN 1000’ name.  ESPN Radio Chicago will feature a lineup of local and national sports talk programming and ESPN Radio’s national play-by-play lineup that includes NBA, MLB, NFL and college football, including the College Football Playoff.”  The LMA begins on September 29.  Longtime ‘ESPN 1000’ VP and general manager Jim Pastor will exit his role.  He says, “Few people will ever match the experience I’ve had over 27 incredible years with Disney, including the last 15 with ESPN.  I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished at ‘ESPN 1000’ or be more supportive of the decision to affiliate with Good Karma.  Walking away now becomes infinitely easier knowing [Good Karma Brands president] Steve Politziner, Craig Karmazin, and the rest of the Good Karma team will be running the show.  For me, I’m ready to dial it back, spend more time with the family and go back to sitting in the cheap seats.”  Craig Karmazin – whose company also owns operates ESPN-affiliated stations in Cleveland, Madison, Milwaukee, and West Palm Beach – says, “Our Midwest roots have afforded us the opportunity to see the passion of Chicago sports fans up close for over two decades.  We are so excited to extend our commitment to being ESPN’s best-in-class local operator into what will now be our largest market.”  ESPN Audio continues to operate WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles.

WJBC, Bloomington’s Laughlin Retires; Miller Takes Over AM Drive Show. At Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJBC, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, longtime morning personality Scott Laughlin is retiring from the station and afternoon drive personality Scott Miller will take over as morning drive host. Miller – who inked a new, multi-year deal with the company – will work with news director Katherine Murphy on the morning show.  Back in May, Laughlin announced he was taking a leave of absence from the WJBC morning show for health reasons.  He has since decided to make his leave permanent.  He says, “I had planned to retire next summer.  My circumstances have speeded up that plan.”  Station operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We wish nothing but the best for Scott Laughlin as he focuses on his health.  Emotionally, it’s not easy to move forward in a situation like this, but we must.  We look forward to having Scott Miller in the morning and know he will do a great job.” The station is searching for a new afternoon talk host.

‘FOX Sports 910’ in Phoenix Makes Drive Time Changes; Dan Sileo Joins for Afternoons. Beginning Tuesday (9/3), iHeartMedia’s KGME, Phoenix “FOX Sports 910” is moving afternoon drive personality Jody Oehler’s “The Drive” program to the 5:00 am to 10:00 am daypart, replacing FOX Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick.  The station says that Oehler’s “‘The Drive’ has brought a signature blend of truth, humor and originality to the Phoenix airwaves.  Throughout the run of the show, Oehler has had some of the biggest names in sports on-air regularly, including: Donovan McNabb, Jake Plummer, Ian Rapoport, Kent Somers, and Greg Amsinger, as well as everyone’s favorite radio segment, ‘Top 5 Thursday,’ which ranks the top five sports stories every Thursday.”  Oehler says, “I’m incredibly excited to be moving to mornings. In a city like Phoenix with all the local teams and transplant residents, I relish the opportunity to offer my reaction to the biggest local and national sporting events.  We’ll do it better than anyone in the market with truth, humor, and fun.  And as a bonus, I won’t get into a near fist fight with myself on the air.”  The station is expected to announce its plans for the afternoon drive daypart very soon. Taking over the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot is sports talk host Dan Sileo, most recently with Entercom at KWFN-FM, San Diego “97.3 The Fan.”  The station says Sileo’s show “will feature engaging sports talk with features such as ‘Cardinals Rewind,’ where Sileo analyzes the Cardinals by recapping the biggest hits and misses from each game, and ‘Stump Sileo,’ a daily segment where listeners have the opportunity to challenge Sileo to a game of six degrees of separation, in which Sileo has to find a way to connect himself to the listener’s favorite sports icon.”  Sileo says, “It’s an honor to come home to iHeartMedia, where I spent the majority of my 24-year radio career, for this amazing opportunity to host afternoons on ‘FOX Sports 910.’  I will promise my listeners this – we will have the most compelling sports show in The Valley.  It will be a show for Phoenix, about Phoenix.  We’re going to bring on the biggest stars in sports and entertainment and give listeners a show they’ll never forget.”

WLAC, Nashville Host Steve Gill Remains in Jail; ‘Terrified’ Wife Files for Divorce. More legal woes arise for embattled WLAC, Nashville talk radio host Steve Gill, who remains in jail in Williamson County, Tennessee for failure to pay $170,000 in child support to ex-wife Kathryn Gill.  Now, Gill’s current wife – who is not named by The Tennessean in its report since she’s under an order of protection from the court – is filing for divorce from Gill and told the court in her request for the order, “I need protection.  I am terrified.  He is ‘influenced’ and ‘powerful’ and he used that to try to keep me from escaping.”  As a witness in Gill’s child support case, she testified that he was lying under oath in court.  The court has ordered Gill not to contact his current wife; to stay away from her home and workplace; to vacate the family home; undergo a certified batterers’ intervention program; and cannot possess any firearms (the order notes he has numerous weapons).

Palm Springs Morning Host Bill Feingold Off the Air for Cancer Treatment. Coachella Valley morning drive personality Bill Feingold is on medical leave from Alpha Media’s news/talk brand “K-News” – KNWZ-AM/KNWQ-AM/K232CX/K274DA – after being diagnosed with stage four liver cancer.  Feingold tells the Desert Sun that he’s aware of the gravity of his diagnosis but is hopeful he can return to the air after undergoing chemotherapy, which begins on September 12.  He and co-host Kevin Holmes have been together on the radio in Palm Springs since 2004.  Feingold says, “Alpha Media is hoping for a semi-miracle so I can come back.  I would come back in a second.”

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit journalist Bankole Thompson is returning to Kevin Adell-run WFDF-AM, Detroit “910AM Superstation” to host the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program, beginning September 9.  Previously, the Detroit News columnist hosted the program, “Redline,” on the station.  Thompson says, “I’m happy to be back at ‘910AM Superstation’ and I’m looking forward to making Detroit’s recovery and poverty the front and center of our conversation.”…..The conservative Christian K-Star Talk Radio Network announces it is adding independent journalist and radio host Will Johnson’s newly syndicated talk radio program, “Fire Power News,” to its 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot, effective September 9.   K-Star program director Angeline Marie says, “I am so excited to add Will Johnson’s program to the K-Star schedule.  He is young, energetic, intelligent, and really passionate about making a difference.”…..Entravision Communications announces it’s bringing listeners “the most extensive Spanish-language radio broadcast coverage” of the upcoming 2019 NFL Centennial season.  The company will broadcast 46 games across 17 U.S. markets on its owned-and-operated stations, as well as on affiliate stations across the country.  Entravision president and COO Jeffrey Liberman says, “The start of the NFL season is always exciting and this year we’re especially proud to have the most extensive Spanish radio broadcast coverage of the NFL. The game of football has really found a home in the Latino market and there are more passionate NFL fans than ever.”…..Actors Gabrielle Carteris and Camryn Manheim have been chosen by SAG-AFTRA’s national membership to fulfill the respective roles of president and secretary-treasurer, two of the union’s highest ranking offices.  Their two-year terms begin today.

Legendary Radio Executive Dwight Case Dies at 90.  Earlier this month, Dwight Case – onetime publisher of Radio & Records and general manager of KHJ, Los Angeles – died at the age of 90. Case started in radio in 1948 KFRE-AM, Fresno.  During his long career, he also managed KROY, Sacramento; served as president of RKO’s radio division; founded Transtar Satellite Radio Network; and served as publisher and CEO of R&R from 1983-1987.  Read more at LARadio.com.

Trump vs the Media, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-China Trade War, Queen Suspends UK Parliament, Jessi Combs Dies in Crash, and Hurricane Dorian Heads for Florida Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28). The president’s renewed frustration with the media’s coverage of his presidency; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the war of tariffs between the U.S. and China; the Queen agrees to suspend the UK Parliament; driver and television personality Jessi Combs dies trying to set a land speed record; and Hurricane Dorian’s projected path toward Florida were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Media executive Winter Horton joins Meruelo Media as chief operating officer, reporting to president and CEO Otto Padron.   Horton was most recently COO for LBI Media Inc.  Padron says, “Meruelo Media has enjoyed extraordinary growth in the past few months.  The task to solidify our L.A. super cluster position and continue our expansion is my highest priority.  To achieve this, I’m proud to announce the addition of Winter Horton as our chief operating officer.  Winter brings a wealth of experience and a unique skill set to help us create even greater value as we optimize our strategy of growth.”…..Cumulus Media’s rock WNDX, Indianapolis “93.9X” announces that Abe Kanan takes over as morning drive personality, effective September 3.  Kanan has served with stations including WLUP-FM and WKQX in Chicago and WBGG in Miami, as well as on the Howard 101 channel on SiriusXM.  He says, “If I could create my own radio station, it would sound just like ‘93.9X.’ In 2019, this is exactly how a rock station should sound.  I am beyond excited and honored to be chosen as the first morning show host on the soon-to-be world-famous 93.9X!”…..SummitMedia names Sheba Foxx news & community affairs director for the Greenville, South Carolina cluster.  Foxx takes over for Rhonda Rawlings who left the position to serve as South Carolina media rep for Cory Booker’s presidential campaign…..Alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” morning personality Dinah Powers is leaving the station’s Rod Ryan show after Friday’s broadcast.  She tells the Houston Chronicle that she elected not to renew her contract and is leaving the radio business and hopes to go back to school and work in the mental health field…..After 62 years in the same Takoma Park, Maryland location, Washington Adventist University’s WGTS-FM, Washington, DC celebrates the grand opening of its new broadcast ministry center in Rockville, Maryland.  The new 13,000 square-foot facility contains two identical on-air studios, three production rooms and a television studio.  It replaces the 3,000 square-foot World War II-era building that has served as the headquarters of the ministry since 1957…..Former, longtime WDVE, Pittsburgh air personality Jack Maloy died yesterday (8/28).  Maloy spent 36 years on the air at the iHeartMedia rock outlet, mostly in overnights.  The station says Maloy loved the shift so much that when he was promoted to the evening show, he was miserable and requested to return to the overnight show where he stayed until his retirement in 2013.

Friday, May 24, 2019

| May 24, 2019

Legendary DJ “Cousin” Bruce Morrow to Receive TALKERS 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Legendary radio personality “Cousin” Bruce Morrow– an icon from the golden era of hit radio on WABC, New York and current star of SiriusXM’s 60s on Six channel – has been selected by the TALKERS editorial board to be the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Morrow’s impressive career includes not only his work as a radio personality on some of America’s biggest stations but radio station ownership and television work, as well.  TALKERS magazine executive editor Kevin Casey says, “Bruce Morrow is a symbol of the great disc jockeys of the golden era who paved the way for radio to connect to people’s hearts and minds and that set the stage for modern talk radio to be the bastion of personality that keeps this medium so vital. The fact that ‘Cousin Brucie’ takes calls and does such wonderful interviews is a tribute to this man’s talent, pertinence, and longevity.”  Morrow says, “I am honored to receive this award from TALKERS, especially since so much of my show and work at SiriusXM now consists of talking to callers and artists on the air about their lives and careers and what the music and culture has meant and continues to mean to them.  This is tremendously gratifying.”  The “Lifetime Achievement” award will be presented to “Cousin” Bruce Morrow at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story on Friday, June 7 in New York City.  The convention is just a day away from being completely sold out.  To register, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or click here for more information.

Report: WMVP, Chicago Not Happy with Nielsen Ratings Error.  Chicago media reporter Robert Feder has the story.  Yesterday, TALKERS alerted you to Feder’s initial report about Nielsen Audio admitting it failed to include the online listening for sports talk WMVP “ESPN Chicago” in the April PPM survey and it issued new numbers for the station yesterday.  While the ESPN-owned station went up from a 1.2 to a 1.3 share with Persons 6+, vice president and general manager Jim Pastor says in the key demo – Men 25-54 – certain shows were affected by as much as 50%.  Moreover, Pastor tells Feder, “The real story here is that it’s remarkable Nielsen’s PPM device captured any digital listening at all.  By their own admission, PPM technology is inadequate at best when it comes to measuring digital.”  Read Feder’s account here.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER:  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout!  The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out.  The final deadline for registrations being accepted is today (5/24) at 5:00 pm ET.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity.  We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency.  That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.”  To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.

ESPN Radio Changes Roles for Jason Fitz and Sarah Spain. Next week, ESPN personalities Jason Fitz and Sarah Spain expand their roles at the sports media giant. Fitz becomes a regular part of ESPN Radio’s weekday morning lineup as a regular contributor on the morning drive “Golic and Wingo” show that features Mike Golic, Trey Wingo, and Mike Golic Jr.  Fitz will continue to contribute to ESPN’s live, on-site digital presence at major events.  Spain begins hosting a new weeknight radio show, “Spain and Company,” that will air nightly from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  Co-hosts on the show will include ESPN Radio’s Jason Goff and ESPN college basketball analyst Jordan Cornette.  Fitz says, “Working with Sarah has been incredible and it has – frankly – made me better being partnered with her every day.  Looking ahead, I’m beyond excited to bring my energy and voice to the fans in the morning with the amazing ‘Golic and Wingo’ team and before that, provide an hour of my perspective on ‘First and Last.’”  Spain comments, “I’ve really enjoyed working with Jason, creating a fun and unique show based on our shared sensibilities and interests.  Going forward, it’s a thrill for me to lead the way on ‘Spain and Company’ with a great cast of co-hosts.”

Sterling: Women in Talk – Is This an Issue? Nationally syndicated talk radio host Walter M. Sterling bristles at the question, “Is this the year of the woman? (in talk radio)” He says the better question is, “Is this the moment when men will get out of the freakin’ way and let the proven success of women in talk radio flourish again?”  The two women in the photo at right were superstars of New York City talk radio in 1955.  Find out who they were and read the rest of Sterling’s piece here.

Five Appointed to NAB Radio Board of Directors. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that, in accordance with its by-laws, Radio Board chairman Randy Gravley makes five appointments to the NAB Radio Board of Directors, effective at the beginning of the June Board meeting, to be held June 10-12.  Reappointed for another two-year term as Designated Representatives are: Amador Bustos, president, Bustos Media Holdings, LLC; David Field, chairman, president, and CEO, Entercom Communications Corp.; and Bill McElveen, regional president, Alpha Media LLC.  Appointed for a new two-year term as Designated Representatives are: Mary Berner, president and CEO, Cumulus Media and Kevin Perry, vice president/general manager, Perry Publishing and Broadcasting Company.

TALKERS News Notes. Progressive talk radio personality Thom Hartmann is credited as writer/consultant on the new film, Ice on Fire, that addresses the melting of the polar ice cap and global warming.  The film features actor Leonardo DiCaprio as narrator and will air on HBO on June 11.  Hartmann, DiCaprio, and director Leila Connors also worked together on the 2011 film The 11th Hour.  See The Hollywood Reporter’s review here…..Chicago public radio news/talk outlet WBEZ-FM announces a new local program to air in middays.  Windy City media writer Robert Feder reports that the Chicago Public Media radio station is debuting a local talk show starring Jenn White to air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  White moves from “The Morning Shift,” a position she’s been in since January.  CPM CEO Goli Sheikholeslami says, “Midday listening is becoming increasingly important as people check in on what’s happening in the world, particularly with the rise in streaming audio.  We’re meeting this need by investing in new, indispensable programming that will drive the daily Chicago conversation during the key midday listening hours.”

Premiere Networks Celebrates Gracie Winners. Pictured above celebrating their Gracie Awards victories are “The Sean Hannity Show” producer Lynda McLaughlin and “The Breakfast Club” host Angela Yee.  They were honored along with all the other winners at the 44th annual Gracie Awards at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.  McLaughlin won the National Talk Radio Producer honor and Yee won in the National Radio Host/Personality category.  Pictured (from l-r) are: Premiere Networks EVP and director of personality sales Dan Metter, McLaughlin, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, and Yee.

Trump’s Stonewalling Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 20-24.  The president’s refusal to answer to subpoenas as the Democrats continue to try to investigate him was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the effort by the state of New York to provide the president’s state tax returns to congress. Coming in at #3 was the Democrats’ increased momentum to begin impeachment proceedings against the president, followed by the 2020 presidential race 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.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Progressive Talk Host and Pundit Bill Press Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the major players on the struggling liberal side of commercial talk radio, Bill Press, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Press is a pioneer in the “progressive” genre on both radio and cable TV.  He was the liberal voice in the historic CNN debate show “Crossfire” from 1996 to 2002.  Today, he is a regularly featured talking head on MSNBC as well as CNN and is an opinion contributor to the DC-based political publication, The Hill.  He is also a prolific author and critic of conservative talk radio who writes about the virtues of the Democrats and the dangers of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.  Press announced last week that he is about to conclude a 14-year run hosting a daily morning radio talk program that been heard on a variety of terrestrial and online platforms and has attracted a respectable critical mass of loyal listeners.  In its place, he will be devoting his energies to podcasting and has every intention of continuing to be an active voice in the national conversation as we approach the 2020 election. Harrison and Press talk about the difficulties that have faced the liberal brand of commercial news/talk radio, the emerging field of podcasting and the growing field of candidates looking to make Donald Trump a one-term president.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Gone is Cumulus Media’s CHR WYRG, Indianapolis “Energy 93.9” and in is classic rock “93-9X, Indy’s Rock Station.”  Cumulus picked up fellow CHR WZPL back in February in a swap with Entercom.  WZPL has consistently outperformed WYRG over the years so the format change is not a surprise.  Cumulus corporate PD Troy Hanson says, “We are excited to expand the successful ‘93X’ brand to Indianapolis with the new ‘93-9X.’ Shout out to [KXXR/MSP program director] Derek Madden, our brainchild on this project, as we fill a hole in the marketplace with a much-needed rock station.  The partnership opportunities this brand adds to our Indy cluster portfolio and rock platform are limitless.”…..San Antonio hot AC KSMG “Magic 105.3” welcomes Tony Cortez to its airstaff as evening personality.  Cortez joins the Cox Media Group from his most recent position with Alpha Media’s crosstown CHR KTFM “Energy 94.1.”  Cox San Antonio director of operations Jeff Garrison says, “Tony’s style, experience, and love for our great city make him the perfect addition to our Magic team. He’s sure to bring a new level of fun and energy to our evening listeners.”…..Country radio pro Jessica Tyler – most recently with Cumulus Media’s WDRQ, Detroit “NASH FM 93.1” – is joining Townsquare Media’s New Hampshire country duo WOKQ, Portsmouth and WPKQ North Conway to serve as assistant brand manager for both stations and midday personality on WOKQ.

PPM Analysis: Classic Hits. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the classic hits format.  From March to April, weekly 6+ AQH share movement was split fairly even, with about half the stations on the panel going up and the other half going down. Gainers were led by Cumulus Media’s WJJK-FM, Indianapolis (+1.7) and iHeartMedia’s WWBB, Providence “B101” (+1.6).  Year over year, about 70% of the stations on our panel enjoyed a ratings increase, with WJJK showing an impressive 3.2 share increase and iHeartMedia’s KLTH, Portland and Bonneville’s KRSP, Salt Lake City both notching 2.5 share gains. Meanwhile, 10 classic hits stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in the April survey.  Find out which stations they are by reading the whole report here.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

| May 23, 2019

TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER:  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout!  The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out.  The final deadline for registrations being accepted is this Friday, May 24 at 5:00 pm ET.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity.  We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency.  That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.”  To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.

Kirk Minihane and Entercom Go Separate Ways. According to a report in the Boston Globe, former WEEI, Boston morning personality Kirk Minihane and Entercom have agreed to dissolve their relationship.  This comes on the heels of Minihane’s recent public gripe about Entercom dragging its feet on launching Minihane’s program on the Radio.com platform. Minihane was removed from his role as co-host of the “Kirk & Callahan” show on WEEI last fall.  At the time, the company said it intended to put Minihane on Radio.com.  Entercom confirmed the separation in a brief statement.  Meanwhile, the Globe reports Minihane – via a Periscope video – saying, “What’s next is whatever.  I don’t know what the next move is going to be but, but I’m just relieved.  And I have nothing good to say about the place I was just at.”  Minihane says that although he does not have a non-compete, he has no intention of doing local radio again.

Ben & Woods to Host Mornings on San Diego’s ‘97.3 The Fan.’ San Diego sports talkers Ben Higgins and Steven Woods are landing at Entercom’s KWFN-FM “97.3 The Fan” for mornings, effective June 10.  “Ben & Woods” were hosts of the morning show on former crosstown sports talk outlet XEPRS “The Mighty 1090” prior to operator Broadcast Company of the Americas losing its signal lease with the Mexican owners and shutting down the station.  The morning drive slot at KWFN opened earlier this year when the station removed Dan Sileo from the morning daypart.  Coach John Kentera has been interim host of the morning show since then.

Nielsen to Release New Ratings for WMVP, Chicago.  As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, Nielsen Audio is telling subscribers there that it will re-release the April 2019 PPM numbers for ESPN’s sports talk WMVP-AM “ESPN Chicago” to include the station’s streaming numbers that were not made part of the station’s ratings when they were released last week.    WVMP’s weekly, 6+ AQH share was 1.2, tying it for 17thplace in the market with three other stations.  Nielsen will release the new numbers as 12:00 noon today (5/23).

TALKERS News Notes. The Associated Press Television and Radio Association  representing 13 Western states – recently announced the winners of its 2018 broadcast contest. Big winners in the radio competition were Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco and Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix.  KCBS-AM took home seven first place awards and two second place honors.  KTAR-FM grabbed two first place awards and four second place trophies.  See the entire list here.….Westwood One reports that the nationally syndicated weekly talk show “Sterling on Sunday” adds two big market affiliates as Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta and Entercom’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City pick up the show starring Walter Sterling.  It’s now heard on more than 85 affiliate stations…..In Richmond, Entercom adds FM translator W286DJ at 105.1 to the broadcast of sports talk WRNL-AM “910 The Fan.”…..iHeartMedia Hartford announces a new deal with University of Connecticut football and basketball play-by-play voice Mike Crispino to keep him with the school’s broadcasts on WUCN “97.9 ESPN.” Crispino is a member of the UConn Radio Broadcast Team and covers play-by-play for UConn football, UConn men’s basketball and UConn baseball.  He says, “I’m thrilled to extend my agreement with iHeartMedia and UConn for the next several years.  It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with sports broadcast pros like Wayne Norman this past year as well as insightful and charismatic coaches and administrators like Randy EdsallDan Hurley, Jim Penders, and David Benedict.  I truly look forward to contributing to the expansion of the UConn brand and fan base across the region.”…..Entercom and podcaster Cadence13 are launching a new series called “To War and Back,” on RADIO.COM, the first episode of which explores the lives of three combat veterans and their journeys on the battlefield and on their return home. The full six-episode series will launch on June 10.  The program features journalist and Navy veteran Phil Briggs, host of the “Connecting Vets” podcast, traveling cross country to meet three combat veterans – US Marine Corps Sgt. Kirstie Ennis (Ret.), US Marine Corps Major Scott Huesing (Ret.) and US Army veteran Sgt. Boone Cutler – to document their incredible experiences, to war and back.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “We’re proud to collaborate with our talented partners at Cadence13 on this original series. ‘To War and Back’ is a perfect example of the power of audio storytelling to make a difference in the lives of listeners.  Original series like this are also a key part of the growth path of RADIO.COM.”…..Pictured below at the studios of Beasley Media Group sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” is high school student Luke D. (center), who got to hang with the “Zolak & Bertrand” midday show as part of Westford Academy’s Job Shadow Day.  Luke participates with the Fitchburg State men’s soccer team and hopes to one day pursue a career in sports broadcasting.  From left to right are: WBZ-FM host Scott Zolak, Jim Louth, Hardy, host Marc Bertrand, and Tom Morgan.

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on stations that serve as Major League Baseball play-by-play flagships.  Historically, baseball is a cume builder for flagship stations and the increase in weekly, 6+ AQH share seen in our panel seems to support that.  After one month of baseball, Kinosian reports that “nearly four of every five Major League Baseball flagships on this list (79%) improve between March 2019 – April 2019 (6+), while only 14% regress; the remaining 7% are flat.”  A 2.3 share increase for Entercom’s St. Louis Cardinals flagship KMOX, St. Louis puts the station in the #1 ranking in the April survey – the lone MLB flagship to enjoy that position.  iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati (Cincinnati Reds) and Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ, Milwaukee (Milwaukee Brewers) both ranked #2 in their respective markets.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Trump’s Stonewalling, Trump’s New York Tax Returns, Democrats’ Impeachment Momentum, 2020 Presidential Politics, US-China Trade War, Midwest Storms, and US-Iran Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22). The effort by President Trump not to cooperate with any investigations launched by Democrats; New York passes a bill to allow congress to get President Trump’s state tax returns; congressional Democrats continue to push Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch impeachment charges against the president; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the tariffs the U.S. and China are placing on each other’s exports; the tornadoes that ravaged the Midwest; and the military tensions between the U.S. and Iran were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

44thAnnual Gracie Awards Held in Los Angeles. On Tuesday (5/21), the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation presented the 2019 Gracie Awards at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  Attendees at this year’s awards ceremony included Sheryl Crow as performer, along with “Good Girls” co-stars Christina Hendricks and Retta, Schitt’s Creek’s Annie Murphy and Sarah Levy, Rachel BloomTisha Thompson, Leah Remini, Elizabeth Perkins, Loni Love, Angela Yee, Elaina Smith (pictured at right with Big Machine Records CEO Scott Borchetta), Jayde Donovan, Kellie Rasberry, Jillian Barberie, Lisa Mantineo, Lynda McLaughlin and more.  Entertainment Tonight LIVE’s Cassie DiLaura served as the Gracie Awards social media ambassador.   Winners in the Radio division included: Angela Yee of “The Breakfast Club” Host/Personality – National; Jayde Donovan “The Jayde Show” Host/Personality – Weekend Program – National; Kellie Rasberry “Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” Co-host – National; Lynda McLaughlin “The Sean Hannity Show” Producer – Talk – National; and Laura Coates “The Laura Coates Show” Talk Show – National.  See all the winners here.  Pictured below is the board of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (from l-r): Kelly Perdomo, vice president: content and partnership marketing, SiriusXM; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss AgencyLauren Ash, host; Becky Brooks, executive director, Alliance for Women in Media; and Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Boston radio personality Adam 12 is joining Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WBOS “ROCK 92.9” to host the midday 11:00 am to 4:00 pm show.  Adam 12 was most recently with online station Indie617 as a personality, imaging director, and social media director.  He’s also served with former market alternative station WFNX-FM and legendary rock outlet WBCN-FM.  He says, “‘ROCK 92.9’ captures so many of the sounds I grew up listening to and playing on the air in Boston.  I’m looking forward to getting back on the FM dial and helping [programmer] Ken West and the team at Beasley make some noise on the airwaves with ROCK 92.9!”…..Programming pro Joey Tack is the new program director and midday personality at Bonneville’s country KNCI, Sacramento, effective July 1.  Tack was most recently program director at SummitMedia’s rhythmic CHR WKHT, Knoxville “HOT 104.5.”…..Entercom names Adam Wolfson director of sales for its CHANNEL Q.  The company says that in this role, Wolfson will oversee sales efforts for LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network – dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.  Entercom Southern California SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “CHANNEL Q has become such a powerful voice for the LGBTQ community as well as advertisers. Adam has been the catalyst in leading our sales charge across the country. He is the perfect choice to lead sales for the network from coast to coast.”

Thursday, May 2, 2019

| May 2, 2019

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT: Navigating Year Three of the Trump Presidency. The president’s idiosyncratic governing style, his social media habits, and his war on the media have made the Donald Trump presidency one of the most challenging for talk radio hosts – but they’ve also made his presidency a bonanza for hosts who handle it properly.  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, is featuring Phil Boyce, who is Salem Media Group SVP/spoken word format and VP/operations Salem Radio Network, as he delivers a presentation titled, “Navigating Year Three of the Trump Presidency.”  In this session, Boyce explains the programming strategies his Salem personalities use to capitalize on the Trump presidency.  There is still time to register but the conference is rapidly approaching sellout status.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and for registration/hotel information, please click here.

Changes Take Place at WICC, Bridgeport.  Programmer Mike Bellamy exits news/talk WICC-AM, Bridgeport, Connecticut as Connoisseur Media takes over operation of the station under an LMA.  Connoisseur is acquiring the station as part of a swap with Cumulus Media.  Bellamy, who’d been with the station for 12 years, announced his departure in a Facebook post.  Bellamy also co-hosted the morning drive show with Tony Reno.  He remains on board and air personality Melissa Sheketoff moves to the morning show as his co-host.

KYW, Philadelphia to Present ‘Jill on Money Live.’ Philadelphia all-news outlet KYW Newsradio is presenting “Jill on Money LIVE” – a local event featuring CBS business analyst Jill Schlesinger at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel on May 22.  The live chat is in support of Schlesinger’s first book, The Dumb Things Smart People Do with Their Money: Thirteen Ways to Right Your Financial Wrongs, and will focus on matters pertaining to retirement, college financing, insurance, real estate, and more.  Schlesinger’s presentation will be followed by a question and answer session with audience members.

TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Joe Madison is being asked to be the keynote speaker at the NAACP’s 110th annual convention taking place in July in Detroit.  Madison hosts a daily morning show on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel.  He’s being asked to address the Membership Luncheon on July 23…..The talk radio scene in Delaware gets a profile from Out & About magazine’s Ken Mammarella, who talks with staffers from WDEL, Wilmington and WXDE-FM, Lewes for the piece.  WDEL’s Rick Jensen, WXDE’s Dan Gaffney, WDEL programmer Chris Carl, and WDEL’s Allan Loudell, all talk with Mammarella for the story you can read here…..TMZ is reporting that Westwood One syndicated talk star and DailyWire founder Ben Shapiro and his family were the target of “serious death threats” and that the FBI has taken a suspect into custody in Kent, Washington.  The investigation and subsequent arrest of the suspect came after Shapiro filed a report with the Los Angeles Police Department…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WMVP “ESPN 1000” sports talk host David Kaplan has a new deal to remain in his other gig as a personality on NBC Sports Chicago.  He hosts the weeknight “SportsTalk Live” program on the cable channel and his new contract will allow him to take on new duties, including “creating ‘fan-focused content’ over a variety of platforms.”…..Political commentator and activist Charlie Kirk is launching a new podcast on PodcastOne.  “The Charlie Kirk Show” will feature “the inside scoop on the biggest news of the week and what’s really going on behind the headlines.” Kirk says he considers the new show “a report from the frontlines of the culture war, and what’s really going on from America’s college lecture halls to the halls of Congress.”  The debut episode features an unfiltered interview with Donald Trump, Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle…..SiriusXM is again offering subscribers comprehensive coverage of the this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.  The satellite radio service has a deal with Horse Racing Radio Network to cover all Triple Crown races – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – as well as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.  The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Kentucky Derby is provided by NBC Sports Radio and produced in partnership with HRRN and Westwood One.

WFDF, Detroit Adds Michael Baisden Show for PM Drive Time. Detroit talk station WFDF “910 AM Superstation” is adding the Sun Broadcast Group-syndicated Michael Baisden show for afternoon drive, airing from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, starting May 6.  The Baisden show is described as “four hours of music, engaging content, daily thought-provoking conversation, and is the premier destination for listeners to be entertained, inspired, and educated.”  WFDF CEO Kevin Adell says, “I’m excited to bring Michael Baisden back to the State of Michigan on ‘910AM Superstation,’ the full-power station with 50,000 watts, because we do a super job,”

Trish Johnson Promoted to CFO of NAB. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the promotion of Trish Johnson to chief financial officer and SVP of finance.  She rises from her previous SVP and controller, finance position.  NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “In her two years at NAB, Trish and her finance team have demonstrated consistency and keen professionalism in steering our organization’s finances.  NAB member stations are well served by Trish’s competence and leadership, and we are pleased to reward her with this well-deserved promotion.”  Prior to joining NAB in 2017, Trish worked for Public Broadcasting Service and public TV station WETA-TV, Washington DC.

Barr Hearings/Mueller Report Aftermath, 2020 Presidential Politics, Rising Anti-Semitism Statistics, Southern Border Crisis, Trump Tax Returns/Business Records, Venezuela Unrest, NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1).  The testimony of Attorney General William Barr before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the wake of the release of the Mueller Report; the Democrats vying to face President Trump in 2020; the global rise in anti-Semitism and the attack on the LA synagogue; the status of the migrant influx at the U.S.-Mexico border; the attempts to get President Trump’s tax returns and his suit to prevent Deutsch Bank and Capital One from releasing his business’s records; the political instability in Venezuela; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The deal that transfers ownership of three Panama City, Florida stations – adult hits WASJ-FM, classic rock WRBA-FM and country WKNK-FM – from Powell Broadcasting to Gulf Coast Broadcasting closes.  Powell decided to sell the stations after suffering damages to the facilities and tower from Hurricane Michael in 2018.  Gulf Coast paid $375,000 for the stations.  Prior to the hurricane, Powell had sold WPFM-FM, Panama City to Educational Media Foundation for $472,000…..The Hollywood Reporter is premiering a new video conversation series titled, “Emerging Hollywood,” hosted by The Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne Tha God.  The weekly series will feature “on-the-rise voices in entertainment sharing their views on topics including inclusion, racial politics, gender, and body positivity.” The first guest is “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah.  Charlamagne says, “I don’t do interviews.  I do conversations.  I love conversations because through conversation, you hear people’s stories, and through people’s stories, you get information and inspiration.  That’s all I want people to get out of these conversations is information and inspiration.”

Thursday, March 7, 2019

| March 7, 2019

KGO, San Francisco Announces New Lineup.  Bay Area news/talk icon KGO 810 is unveiling its new lineup of talk show hosts that will begin on Monday (3/11).  Earlier this week the station elected not to renew the contract of midday host Ethan Bearman.  Now, the Cumulus Media station announces three personalities are joining the daily lineup: Mark Thompson, Pat Thurston, and John Rothman. Thompson’s show airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Thurston is on from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, and Rothman holds down the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm shift.  KGO program director and operations manager Lee Hammer says, “I’m excited to be able to add more live and local programming to KGO.  KGO is talking about the major stories of the day and the impact they have on our daily life.  To get those conversations started, we’ve added three outstanding and veteran talk show hosts, each with their own unique style of engaging, informing and entertaining our listeners.”  Mark Thompson has worked at KGO previously, in addition to KABC and KFI in Los Angeles. He’s also a veteran TV weather reporter and worked at KRON-TV, San Francisco.  Pat Thurston has been a weekend host at KGO for the past 12 years. She is an Army veteran who also worked for the Secret Service.  John Rothman has a varied professional background as a former college professor, author, lecturer, foreign policy consultant and expert on the U.S. presidency.  Rothman hosted various shows on KGO since 1996.

Chris Stigall and WPHT, Philadelphia Part Company.  Talk radio host Chris Stigall has exited Entercom’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia after almost nine years with the station.  As of Wednesday (3/6), Stigall’s bio, etc. was gone from the WPHT website and Jeff Bolton was sitting in on the morning show. Philadelphia Magazine reports it has confirmed that Stigall is no longer with the station.  Reporter Victor Fiorillo writes that “according to sources close to the Stigall situation, the split wasn’t ugly.  Those sources say that 1210AM simply decided not to renew Stigall’s contract.”  There’s been no public comment by Entercom about its plans to replace Stigall.  He’d arrived in Philly from Kansas City in 2010 where’d hosted a show on KCMO-AM.

Mike North Returns to Chicago Airwaves for Weekly Sports Betting Show on ‘ESPN 1000.’ Chicago sports radio icon Mike North is returning to the air as co-host of “The ODDS Couple” with Carmen DeFalco on ESPN’s WMVP “ESPN 1000.”   The weekly, one-hour program focused on sports betting debuts tomorrow (3/8) at 6:00 pm. WMVP vice president and general manager Jim Pastor says, “As sports betting moves from the shadows to the spotlight, we expect to be a destination for those who participate and those who want to be entertained.  This isn’t only going to be about updated betting lines and hot tips.  It’s about the highs, the lows, and how to succeed and have fun whether you’re a grizzled veteran or a newcomer to sports betting.  Those in betting circles already know of Mike’s incredible track record as a long-time gambling expert.  Bringing Mike back to Chicago’s airwaves to become a lead voice in local sports betting was too good to pass up.  Pairing him with ESPN1000’s resident gambling guru, Carmen DeFalco, was a no brainer.”  North spent most of his radio career on the air at crosstown sports talker WSCR “The Score.”  DeFalco co-hosts WMVP’s midday “Carmen & Jurko” show with John Jurkovic.

Details of Cox Media Group Assets Sale Revealed. Last month’s announcement by Cox Enterprises that it is selling its television assets, the Dayton Daily News and radio stations news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, classic hits WZLR, and country WHKO in Dayton to Apollo Global Management did not come with a price tag.  Now that details have been filed and made public, we know that Apollo will pay $3.1 billion for the media properties.  Technically, the buyer is Terrier Media Buyer Inc. and the two radio stations will operate under the Camelot Radio name.

Edison Research and Triton Digital Unveil The Infinite Dial 2019. The 2019 Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital has been made public and the companies say that the growth of podcasting is evident as among the U.S. population ages 12 and older, the total number of people who have ever listened to a podcast passes 50% for the first time. Edison Research SVP Tom Webster says, “This is a watershed moment for podcasting–a true milestone.  With over half of Americans 12+ saying that they have ever listened to a podcast, the medium has firmly crossed into the mainstream.”  Other findings from this year’s study include that more than half the U.S. population now reports having used YouTube specifically for music in the last week.  That number is now 70% among 12 to 34-year-olds.  It also found that the percentage of Americans who listen to online audio (defined as listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the internet) has doubled since 2012, growing from one-third of the population to two-thirds.  See more here.

Alana Lujan Named Director of Sales for CMG Jacksonville. Rising from integrated digital sales manager to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Jacksonville radio cluster is Alana Lujan.  In her new role, she’ll lead the sales effort for the market’s radio and Local Solutions brands, including news/talk WOKV-FM, sports talk WOKV-AM “ESPN 690,” and six music radio outlets.  She says, “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead our strong and talented sales team in Jacksonville.  I’m excited for this new adventure and to bring my experience in broadcast and digital sales as well as my love of radio to help this team achieve new levels of success.”

MIW Group Extends Mentoring Program Application Deadline to March 11. Persons interested in applying for the Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group’s 2019 MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program have until Monday, March 11 to do so.  This notable experience pairs up-and-coming women, who have spent a minimum of five years in the radio industry, with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media.  A total of four candidates from within the radio broadcasting industry – including management, sales, marketing, programming and digital disciplines – will be selected for the 2019 program. For mentee criteria, and instructions on how to apply, please visit www.radiomiw.com.

WOR’s Berman and Riedel Turn One!  Pictured above is the WOR, New York morning show team celebrating the one-year anniversary of the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” show.  Pictured (from l-r) are: Michael Riedel, executive producer Natalie Vacca, and Len Berman.

U.S.-Mexico Border Situation, Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Sentencing, Democrats’ Anti-Semitism Resolution, North Korea Weapons Program, DNC Bars FOX, Anti-Vaxer Controversies, Alex Trebek Cancer Diagnosis, ‘Leaving Neverland’ Controversy, and NBA and NCAA Basketball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6). The large number of illegals reportedly crossing the U.S.-Mexico border; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related sentencing of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort; the fracture in the Democratic Party with no vote on the anti-Semitism resolution; reports of North Korea’s re-boot of its missile program; the Democratic National Committee’s barring FOX News from covering the Democratic primary debates; the various controversies over anti-vaccination beliefs; “Jeopary!” host Alex Trebek announces his diagnosis of stage four prostate cancer; the banning of Michael Jackson records and the aftermath of HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” film; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Metaphorical shock waves were felt across Southern California yesterday (3/6) when KROQ, Los Angeles morning personality Gene “Bean” Baxter announced he’d be leaving the “Kevin & Bean” show by the end of this year.  Baxter has hosted the show with Kevin Ryder on Entercom’s alternative station since 1990.  Telling his audience that “30 years is a good time to stop,” he says he plans to re-locate to England after he finishes his career with the station…..Cumulus Media and Westwood One announce that air personality Stew James will assume the afternoon drive host duties on WSM-FM, Nashville “95.5 NASH Icon and the national Westwood One NASH Icon Network. James has most recently served with the company as weekend air talent and technical producer of “The Ty Bentli Show.”…..The syndicated weekend radio show “Sunday Night Slow Jams” adds new affiliates to bring its total affiliate roster to 175 stations worldwide.  New stations include: XHTO-FM, El Paso; WLMI-FM, Lansing, Michigan; and KHTH-FM, Santa Rosa, California…..iHeartMedia and FOX Broadcasting Company announce that Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter T-Pain will serve as host of the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards taking place on March 14 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  The live two-hour event will be broadcast live on FOX TV, iHeartMedia radio stations, and the iHeartRadio platform.

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