It’s Official: Trump Names Pai FCC Chairman. On the heels of news reports suggesting that President Donald Trump would name Republican Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai the new chairman, he’s done just that. Pai will lead the three-member commission consisting of Pai’s fellow Republican Michael O’Rielly and Democrat Mignon Clyburn until two more commissioners are named to the body by Trump. Pai’s statement was simple: “I am deeply grateful to the President of the United States for designating me the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. I look forward to working with the new Administration, my colleagues at the Commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.” While Pai has been a friend to the radio industry, serving as a commissioner who is sensitive to efforts such as AM revitalization, the speculation is that this FCC will reverse Tom Wheeler-era policies on net neutrality, broadband subscriber data privacy and others.
Rhode Island Talk Host John DePetro Returns to Radio on WADK, Newport. A little more than a month after exiting Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence, longtime Rhode Island talk radio personality John DePetro returns to the airwaves via 3G Broadcasting’s WADK, Newport, Rhode Island for a show that launches tomorrow (1/25) from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. In announcing the news, DePetro states, “I am now the exclusive owner of the ‘John DePetro Show,’ which gives me full ownership of the content of the show and the freedom in the future to syndicate my popular, highly rated, entertaining program. My listeners should get ready for the most entertaining radio I have ever done, and I will continue to tell it like it is.” DePetro’s deal with the station includes a two-hour Saturday “John DePetro Show Week in Review.” Station owner Bonnie Gomes comments, “John DePetro and I have known each other since the late 80s when we worked together at a Providence radio group. John has a well-known, entertaining program and it matches with our goal of making 1540 AM WADK completely live and local. We are excited to welcome John to our broadcasting family and know that he will bring a new, exciting, entertaining twist to our current programming lineup.”
DGital Media and The Players’ Tribune Partner for Podcast Network. Sports-themed media platform The Players’ Tribune partners with DGital Media to release its first podcast. The Derek Jeter-founded podcast network will feature “oral histories, athlete-hosted podcasts, a flagship show and other topical series.” The first show is “Giant Steps,” an oral history podcast that chronicles the rise of the New York Giants’ first Super Bowl championship in 1986. The 60-minute episode, narrated by Michael Strahan, features first-person accounts from Carl Banks, Harry Carson, Pepper Johnson, Leonard Marshall, George Martin, Elvis Patterson, Lawrence Taylor and Bill Parcells. The Players’ Tribune president Jaymee Messler comments, “‘The Players’ Tribune’ has become a destination for thoughtful, insightful storytelling related to topics both on and off the field. We’re excited to introduce another medium for athletes to share stories and discuss important issues through a unique and intimate listening experience. DGital Media is a terrific partner on the launch of this newest extension of our premium content offerings.”
Trump Withdraws US from TPP, Women’s Marches Aftermath, Trump Federal Hiring Freeze, Deadly Southeastern Tornadoes, ‘SNL’ Writer Suspended, Parliament to Vote on Brexit, and Super Bowl LI Matchup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23). President Donald Trump signs executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal; the aftermath of the Women’s March in DC and in cities across the world; Trump enacts federal government hiring freeze; the deadly tornadoes that tore through the Southeast U.S.; a “Saturday Night Live” writer Katie Rich is suspended for her tweet targeting Barron Trump; Britain’s Parliament prepares to vote on the country’s exit from the European Union; and the Super Bowl matchup between New England and Atlanta were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York late morning hosts Sid Rosenberg (left) and Bernard McGuirk (right) are both re-signing with the Cumulus station for new, three-year deals. McGuirk and Rosenberg both still have their roles on the “Imus in the Morning” program. The new deals pertain to their “Bernie & Sid” 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Rosenberg tells TALKERS magazine, “I’m excited to spend the next few years at WABC! [Market manager] Chad Lopez and [program director] Craig Schwalb have been a joy to work for and I’m blessed with the best, funniest and most talented partner in the business!”…..Philadelphia sports talker WIP-FM announces the schedule for its Phillies program “The Hot Stove” with Phillies play-by-play team Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen. The hour-long show will air four consecutive Wednesdays at 6:00 pm beginning February 1.
Doug McIntyre and Steve Martin Sell Out Four Nights in Southern California. Pictured above are film and comedy legend Steve Martin (left) and KABC, Los Angeles morning personality Doug McIntyre (right) on stage during one of four performances that took place January 8-11. McIntyre hosts the Distinguished Speakers Series and Martin recently joined him at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, the Redondo Beach Center for the Performing Art in Redondo Beach, the Thousand Oaks Civic Art Plaza in Thousand Oaks, and the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena. Previous guests in the series have included John Cleese, Betty White, Ron Howard and Robert Redford among others. Photo: Sue Swan.
Westwood One Names Switzer VP/GM of Music & Entertainment – Country. This is a return to the Westwood One fold for Bryan Switzer. He served with then-ABC Radio Networks, Citadel Media and Cumulus Media Networks from 2006 through 2014 overseeing Nashville marketing, promotion, and affiliate sales for “American Country Countdown,” the 24-hour formats and more. He returns to the media biz from his most recent executive post with JennsCo Chemical Solutions. As vice president/general manager, music & entertainment-country for Westwood One, he’ll be in charge of the marketing and operations of all owned and represented country shows.
Renda Broadcasting Appoints Steve Granato PD for Fort Myers-Naples Cluster. Taking over for Randy Savage, who left the program director position with Renda Southwest Florida to join Cumulus’ Wilkes-Barre cluster, is Steve Granato. He’ll program the company’s four-station cluster including country WWGR “Gator Country 1019,” adult hits WJGO “1029BOBfm,” hot AC WSGL “Mix 104.7,” and news/talk WGUF “98.9 Naples FM Talk.” Granato previously served with Renda Broadcasting programming the company’s Pittsburgh properties in the early 1990s.
WMMR, Philly Names Brent Porche Overnight Jock. Philadelphia heritage rock outlet WMMR announces Brent Porche is named the station’s new overnight personality. The Beasley Media Group-owned station notes that “it’s rare a radio station that goes eight years between full-time hires. It’s rarer still that the position is for a full-time, overnight air talent.” Porche takes over for Jacky Bam Bam who recently was promoted to the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show. Porche says of his new gig, “It’s like a lifelong fan rooting for the Eagles and getting hired to play on the team – with all his favorite players! I’m honored to join Preston & Steve, Pierre Robert, Jaxon, Jacky and all the DJs on such a legendary station.”
Jenkins to Lead Alpha Media’s Moberly-Macon, Missouri Station Group. Thirty-year radio pro Mike Jenkins is named market manager for Alpha Media’s Moberly-Macon, Missouri station group that includes, country KRES-FM, oldies KIRK-FM, Christian contemporary KTCM-FM, and news/talk KWIX-AM/FM. Alpha Midwest Region EVP George Pelletier says, “We are pleased to welcome Mike Jenkins to our Alpha operations in Moberly. Mike has a terrific track record of success everywhere he has worked. His reputation of being a great leader, inspired broadcaster and client-oriented sales champion convinced us that he was the right kind of person to lead the Alpha team in Moberly, Missouri.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. San Diego CHR KHTS-FM “Channel 93.3 FM” names Ethan Cole evening personality. Cole stays with iHeartMedia having spent that past two years producing the “Matty in the Morning” show for WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108 FM.”.…..Saga Communications names Mark the Shark afternoon drive personality at classic rock WKLH, Milwaukee WKLH-FM “Rock 96-5.” It’s a return to Brew City for The Shark. He served with former rock outlet WQFM (now AC WLDB) during the 1980s and 1990s…..The Cantore + Woods morning show with Chris Cantore and Steve Woods exits Entercom’s alternative KBZT, San Diego “FM 949” after 15 months in the daypart. No word on the new morning drive show yet…..WNKS, Charlotte “KISS 95.1” intern Whitney Thore and the “Maney, Roy and LauRen Show” are back on television for tonight’s (1/24) season premiere of the TLC Network show, “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” starring Thore. The show follows Thore, a passionate dancer on her way to maintaining a healthy life style through dance and a “No Body Shaming” policy…..iHeartMedia’s Fresno country outlet KHGE “102.7 The Wolf” is hosting the 2017 Acoustic Kick-Off Concert featuring live performances by country music recording artists Hunter Hayes, Casey Donahew and Lucas Hoge tomorrow night (1/25) at the Tower Theater in Fresno. The Wolf program director Nick Cash says, “We love to connect our ‘102.7 The Wolf’ listeners with the hottest new country artists in a live and intimate setting. Hunter has a big, young following in the Central Valley and we can’t wait to sing along with them in the crowd at Acoustic Kick-Off Concert!”
WPRO-AM, Providence and Talk Host John DePetro Go Separate Ways. During the month of December, the late morning talk show hosted by longtime WPRO-AM personality John DePetro was handled by a rotating cast of fill-in hosts. DePetro had referenced a “health situation” on his website. Then, just before Christmas, DePetro notified listeners via his website of his departure from the station. He wrote, in part, “At this time, I have decided to conclude my entertaining weekday 9:00 am -12:00 noon radio show on WPRO. Thank you to all my listeners for making 2016 my best year ever in radio, with my coverage of the Trump campaign, my many exclusives, plus my national work on ‘The Savage Nation’ and CNN. I am very grateful for the many loyal listeners who have been entertained by my program on WPRO over the past 10 years.” So far, WPRO has not named a replacement host, nor has the Cumulus Media news/talk station officially addressed DePetro’s departure.
Programming Moves at iHeartMedia Denver. This affects both news/talk KOA and sports talk KDSP. First, at KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM,” the new afternoon show is Lewis & Logan from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm featuring Rick Lewis and Dave Logan. The duo will be joined by Kathy Lee as co-host and Robbyn Hart as news anchor. In June of 2014, iHM tweaked afternoons by bringing Denver TV and radio pro Susie Wargin aboard to co-host with Logan for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm hours and the show moved away from being sports-centric. Wargin then co-hosted a newsy program with Mike Rice from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Wargin moves to the company’s classic rock KRFX. Also at KOA, Cory Lopez is the new host of “PrimeTime Sports,” airing weeknights from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. At sports talk KDSP, “Denver Sports 760,” Mike Rice hosts the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. The new duo of Ed McCaffrey and Andy Lindahl will co-host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm program.
KCMO-AM, Kansas City Announces New Program Lineup. There are two talk personalities returning to Cumulus Media’s news/talk simulcast KCMO-AM/K279BI as the station announces its new, 2017 program lineup. Longtime Kansas City talk personality Greg Knapp is back on the station after a nine-month absence to host the morning drive program. Knapp hosted the afternoon show at KCMO until late April of 2016. Westwood One’s rollout of the national Chris Plante program brings him back to KCMO in the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot. Tom Becka remains in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, while Mike Ferguson moves from middays to afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) with co-host and producer Jared Carter. Nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey also remains in his current 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm timeslot. Knapp takes over mornings for Rob Carson, who exited late last year.
‘PowerTalk’ in Fresno Launches New Early Evening Program. Fresno news/talk simulcast KALZ-FM/KRZR-AM “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400” announces the debut of the Guillermo Moreno program, this evening from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The iHeartMedia station says Moreno “will take a conservative approach to local and national issues – including politics, business headlines and pop culture – from the perspective of a Latino millennial and for listeners of all ages.” Moreno comments, “I’m excited to continue breaking the political and radio establishment mold and thrilled to be among the first young Latino millennial hosts in the Central Valley. Fresno is the greatest city in America and I’m honored to continue my passion for politics with my generation here at home.”
December PPMs: Some Notable Occurrences. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at some significant happenings, from a ratings perspective, relative to Nielsen Audio’s December PPM survey. Among them are the return to earth for CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago and iHeartMedia’s WTAM, Cleveland – both of which benefitted mightily from the performances of the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians leading up to and including the World Series. See more interesting highlights here.
165 THOUSAND of us – from 150 countries – are heading to the massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics Show.
This year is the 50th annual CES. Back in 1967, there were ooohs and ahhhs for console color TVs. Are you old-enough to remember the handsome woodwork? Some had built-in stereo systems…but only for the vinyl you played on the turntable. Stereo TV sound? Someday.
50 years ago, only 14 companies were showing-off their stuff, in 100,000 square feet of exhibit space. Back-to-the-future: Today, when they cut the virtual ribbon, four THOUSAND companies will display in 2.4 MILLION square feet of Las Vegas Convention Center. Picture FIFTY football fields.
And that’s just inside. Outdoors, there’ll be drones up above, and down-below we’ll be test-driving cars with no gas tank, and cars with no driver.
Technology accounts for 15 million American jobs. Not everyone becomes a billionaire, by inventing, for instance, the smartphone. But someone became a millionaire by accessorizing it with the Selfie Stick.
Much of what we’ll see here this week is here-today-gone-tomorrow. Many of these companies didn’t exist a couple years ago, and many won’t be around a couple years from now. Innovation is the-name-of-the-game, and that makes CES a welcome pump-up for radio broadcasters attending.
Look for my reports here in TALKERS all this week, and listen for updates on “America in the Morning” and “The Jim Bohannon Show,” or at www.HollandCooke.com.
Terry Foster Returns to WXYT-FM, Detroit’s Afternoon Drive Show. After missing a lot of time on the air during the latter part of 2016 due to a stroke caused by high blood pressure, Terry Foster is returning to the “Valenti and Foster” program with co-host Mike Valenti on sports talk “97.1 The Ticket.” Program director Jimmy Powers states, “We are excited that Terry is returning to the ‘Valenti and Foster’ show. His humor and insight have been missed not only by his co-workers, but by the listeners. I sincerely appreciate and would like to thank Jeff Riger for sitting in for Terry while he was out; the show didn’t miss a beat.” Foster comments, “I have been on the sidelines for too long. I missed a lot of good stories and a lot of good times. I’m glad to be back on the train again. I want to thank all of the listeners and my co-workers for their encouraging words, they got me through a tough time.”
Dan Lovallo Joins AM Show on Connoisseur’s ‘Talk of CT.’ The news/talk multi-cast heard on Connoisseur Media’s “The Talk of CT” (WDRC-AM, Hartford; WMMW, Meriden; WWCO, Waterbury; and WSNG, Torrington) is adding well-known Connecticut radio personality Dan Lovallo to the Brad Davis morning show. Lovallo has been with the stations in various capacities over the years. In addition to news duties on the company’s sister classic rock WFOX, Southport (Bridgeport-Stamford market), Lovallo will also host his own Connecticut politics-focused show, “CT On The Hill,” on “The Talk of CT” every day at 9:00 am. This is one of a number of changes at the Connecticut operations of Connoisseur and OM Keith Dakin comments, “These changes, across our portfolio, indicate a strong commitment to localism. Radio will continue to be vibrant if it remains a true fabric of the community with more local morning shows, local news and people from Connecticut behind the microphones.”
Free Talk Live Hosts Prevail at NH Supreme Court. This case goes back three years to a suit filed against “Free Talk Live” hosts Ian Freeman and James Cleaveland by the City of Keene, New Hampshire. The long-running courtroom saga of the “Robin Hood of Keene” all started when Freeman and Cleaveland began plugging the parking meters of citizens whose time was running out and were about to get parking tickets issued by the city’s parking enforcers. The city sued, alleging among other things that Freeman and Cleaveland were “threatening, intimidating, and harassing” the parking enforcers – something the court ruled the city was unable to prove. The pair won their case at the superior court level but the city took the case all the way to the state supreme court. Freeman informs TALKERS that “the supreme court agreed with the superior court that the city’s proposed injunction, which would keep us away from their enforcers, was unconstitutional. It’s a victory for freedom of speech in the public streets.”
‘Kilmeade & Friends’ Adds 24 New Affiliates. The nationally syndicated “Kilmeade & Friends” late morning show hosted by Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade and produced and distributed by Fox News Radio, adds 24 new radio affiliates. Some of the stations adding the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program include: WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; WOKV, Jacksonville; WRHI, Charlotte; WMMI, Flint, Michigan; KZRG, Joplin, Missouri; WFIN, Toledo; and WNIX-AM, Greenville, Mississippi.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is now heard on an number of new affiliate stations across the country, including: KZRG, Joplin, Missouri; KHVH, Honolulu; KMBZ, Kansas City; KSTE, Sacramento; WATX, Cookeville, Tennessee and more…..Syndicated morning show “Walton & Johnson” changes affiliates in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The program is moving from Entercom classic rocker WKBU to iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRNO in New Orleans and from Guaranty’s classic rock WDGL to iHM’s news/talk WJBO in Baton Rouge…..Westwood One is celebrating the 25th anniversary of “The Dave Ross Show” and announces it is extending its relationship with Ross (who also serves as morning news host at KIRO-FM, Seattle). The daily feature is heard on more than 200 stations nationwide including: WCBS-AM, New York; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM, Chicago; and WTOP-FM, Washington. Ross also guest hosts for Charles Osgood on “The Osgood File.”…..Robert K. Tanenbaum, trial attorney, author of 31 books, and former mayor of Beverly Hills, will be featured in a new segment titled, “Book Buzz,” on Patzi Gil’s “Joy on Paper” radio show, which airs twice weekly on Radio Works’ WTAN, Clearwater, Florida…..Executive vice president Paul Cramer exits Triton Digital after 16 years with the company and its predecessors. He’s excited about his next challenge in the digital solutions space and can be reached at PaulCramer@Outlook.com or 716-508-4104.
Music Radio Trade Publication RadioInfo to Be Absorbed into TALKERS Magazine. Beginning today, January 3, 2017, the music radio industry trade publication RadioInfo is folded into an expanded incarnation of TALKERS magazine (www.Talkers.com and the daily TALKERS email newsletter) and ceases to be distributed as a stand-alone entity. According to TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This has been a transition in the works for a number of months now. Because, RadioInfo has shared main headquarters and staff with TALKERS for the past five years, there has been a significant degree of duplication between the publications, especially regarding general industry stories that cover all formats. It makes sense from a standpoint of economy, proficiency and expediency to combine these into one ‘super’ trade journal. We will continue to provide RadioInfo readers and newsletter subscribers with the latest news events and personnel changes in music radio within the pages of TALKERS. We also are expanding our coverage of the talented talk-oriented hosts heard across America on music station morning programs that we categorize as ‘pop culture talk.’” Subscribers to the daily RadioInfo email newsletter, not already signed up for TALKERS, will be added to the TALKERS list so they will continue to receive the service. RadioInfo was founded as a set of radio discussion boards and an accompanying general online industry news platform in 1999 by young radio enthusiast and entrepreneur Doug Fleming who tragically passed away in 2005 at the age of 25. The entity, known as Radio-Info.com, continued to be published by Doug’s parents Diana and Rick Fleming until 2012. At that time, the discussion boards were acquired by trade publication Radio Ink’s parent corporation Streamline Publishing and eventually discontinued. The trade publication side was acquired by TALKERS magazine’s parent company Talk Media, Inc. and transitioned into the music radio incarnation of RadioInfo.
Talent Moves at KRFX, Denver. At iHeartMedia’s Denver classic rock KRFX “103.5 The Fox,” 25-year morning personalities Rick Lewis and Kathy Lee renew and extend their contracts with the station. At the same time, the station announces Denver radio and TV pro Susie Wargin is the new midday personality and market radio pro Uncle Nasty assumes the afternoon drive daypart.
Talent Moves at Connoisseur Connecticut. At the Connecticut operations of Connoisseur Media, operations manager Keith Dakin announces changes to a number of the company’s stations designed to increase their commitment to focus on “being more local and involved in the community.” First, Ken Tuccio is named the new morning drive host at classic rock WFOX, Southport (Bridgeport-Stamford market). He’ll be joined by news broadcaster Dan Lovallo with Fairfield County-centric news updates every 30 minutes. The station will air local news throughout the day during the shifts of new midday host Pam Ciaburri and afternoon host Allan Lamberti. Additionally, Cari Edwards is the new evening personality. At rock WPLR, New Haven, Kevin Begley adds programming duties for the station to his current responsibilities serving as PD for hot AC WEZN “Star 99.9” and WFOX. Finally, at classic rock WDRC-FM, Hartford “102.9 The WHALE,” Allan Lamberti takes over the programming duties (in addition to hosting evenings). The jock lineup consists of: Michael Picozzi in morning, Suzi Klonk in middays, and Keith Dakin in afternoons.
iHeartMedia Adds ‘Mojo in the Morning’ to CHR WSNX, Grand Rapids. The AM drive show “Mojo in the Morning” – featuring Mojo, Shannon, and Spike – based at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKQI, Detroit “Channel 95.5,” is the new morning show at the company’s West Michigan CHR WSNX, Grand Rapids, effective January 16. Mojo says, “We love Michigan and are so excited to have the show heard in West Michigan. As a big fan of SNX, we are honored to be on the two best CHR radio station brands in Michigan!”
KKHH Hits ‘The Spot.’ Among stations making format modifications over the holidays was CBS RADIO Houston CHR KKHH “Hot 95-7,” which transitions to adult hits “95.7 The Spot.” Supplementing “The Spot” identity is the slogan “Your Place – Your Music – Your Way – A Radio Station Unlike Any Other in Town.” The format change means Cumulus Media’s KRBE will now have the market’s CHR lane to itself. CBS RADIO senior vice president and Houston market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “We worked exhaustively to understand what Houston listeners were missing from their local radio stations. They told us they wanted their own ‘spot’ to hear their favorite music hits, a ‘spot’ to relax and energize at work, and a ‘spot’ to feel comfy and complete.” Representative “Spot” artists include Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, and U2. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s December 2016 PPM report, KKHH is flat at 2.7 (#18), while KRBE gains two-tenths to 3.5 (#14); iHeartMedia adult contemporary KODA “Sunny 99.1” is #1 (7.3, 6+).
JVC Goes True Oldies in the Palm Beaches. This change is the result of a partnership with Scott Shannon’s True Oldies format. JVC Broadcasting announces that WBGF, Belle Glade, Florida flips from rock as “93.5 The Bar” to oldies as “True Oldies 93.5.” JVC Broadcasting of South Florida vice president and general manager Matt Goldapper says, “True Oldies is the perfect fit for the West Palm Beach market – lots of jingles, lots of voices and all the hits all the time. This music is just missing from the radio here in South Florida and with our sister stations ‘95.9 The Palm’ and ‘900 AM The Talk of the Palm Beaches,’ we are just super-serving this market. The best part of this radio mix is the partnership with radio legend Scott Shannon who is the genius behind this entertaining and upbeat radio format.”
More Career Moves and Music Radio News. At the Kansas City cluster of Cumulus Media, the company announces that the Premiere Networks-syndicated Steve Harvey show is now airing in mornings at urban contemporary KMJK “Magic 107.3.” Meanwhile, at sister classic hits KCMO-FM, Kansas City radio pro Steve-O assumes the afternoon drive host duties, following Lance Tidwell, who takes over the middays program…..The syndicated “Ace & TJ Show” announces the official return of former cast member Guenn (Peterson) Schneider. She was previously part of the Ace & TJ team from 2007-2011. Following her departure from the show, Guenn worked with various media outlets in Charlotte…..Alpha Media launched a new contemporary rock outlet on translator W259CL, Orangeburg, South Carolina at 99.7 FM in the Columbia market on December 27. The station will feature such core artists as Green Day, Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink 182, and the Foo Fighters. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “Alpha continues to grow and invest in Columbia with our latest addition of a contemporary rock station. ‘Rock 99.7’ will be a great companion to our classic rock station ‘Fox 102.3’ WMFX.”…..Refuge Media closes on its purchase of classic rock KMFG, Nashwauk, Minnesota. Refuge bought the station from Midwest Communications, Inc.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago to Provide News for ‘Me-TV FM’ as Part of Partnership. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story on this interesting partnership between Tribune news/talker WGN and the Weigel Broadcasting-operated soft AC-oldies format airing on low-power analog VHF TV signal at 87.7 FM (WRME-LP). Under the terms of the deal, WGN news staffers will provide two one-minute news/weather/sports updates per hour during morning drive for “Me-TV FM.” Additionally, the two companies will enter into a joint sales agreement with WGN selling time on “Me-TV FM.” The unique music format – programmed by Rick O’Dell – is surprising some industry watchers as it recently pulled a 2.0 share in the August Nielsen PPM survey with a cume of 684,000. Read Feder’s piece here.
Cumulus Media Providence Promotes Paras to VP/MM. Ten-year Cumulus Media Providence director of sales Holly Paras is elevated to vice president and market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in that Rhode Island metro. Cumulus Media senior vice president Jeff Brown comments, “Holly’s fingerprints are on many of the successes that our cluster in Providence has enjoyed over the years. She is the first to tell you that those wins are due to our very talented, market-leading team. She is the leader and the team is fired up to follow her.” Paras states, “I am excited and humbled to be asked to lead such a talented team of people and the tremendous radio brands at Cumulus Providence.” Before her director of sales tenure, Paras was national sales manager for three Cumulus Media Providence outlets, and was a Katz Radio Group New York City account executive. Fourteen (14) stations are listed in Nielsen Audio‘s August 2016 PPM report for Providence. With their August 2016 6+- market rank and 6+-share in parentheses, Cumulus Media Providence’s five station cluster consists of adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” (#1, 9.7); CHR WPRO-FM “Today’s Hit Music” (#2, 8.5); talk WPRO-AM (#7, 4.6); rhythmic CHR WWKX “Hot 106” (#8, third successive 2.6); and talk WPRV (#13, .5).
PodcastOne to Launch Virtual Reality Programming. Stating that it will be the first company to “enter the virtual reality space,” PodcastOne announces a partnership with Mandt VR to launch its new PodcastOne 360 platform. Mandt VR was founded by multi-Emmy Award winning producer Neil Mandt. The firms report they plan to produce more than 200 original 360-video experiences and expect to become the largest producers of high-quality, serialized virtual reality content in the world. They also intend to develop a proprietary camera system, specifically for PodcastOne’s high-volume production. PodcastOne says the potential of providing the virtual reality experience to its listeners, who deliver more than 400 million monthly impressions, and Mandt VR’s unique ability to activate large quantities of captivating content, will create a robust catalogue of compelling, serialized content. “The Adam Carolla Show” will be the first podcast available to listeners on PodcastOne 360. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz states, “Virtual reality is the future of entertainment and Mandt VR’s leading technology delivers quality video, and in large quantities. This is key when you churn out about 350 podcast episodes weekly. This provides the next dimension in consuming our on-demand audio programming. It’s especially germane to an audience that wants to consume PodcastOne’s content on an ever-more connected basis. This is exactly the kind of partnership and cutting-edge direction that floats our collective boats.” Pictured above are (from l-r): PodcastOne CEO Jim Berk, Mandt, Pattiz, and Mandt VR chief strategy officer Chadwick Turner.
Zac Davis Appointed SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Richmond. This move keeps programming pro Zac Davis in the iHeartMedia family. He’s been serving as program director for the company’s CHR outlets WKSS, Hartford “Kiss 95-7” and WKCI, New Haven “KC101.” Now, he moves south to Richmond, Virginia to take on the SVP of programming position for the eight-station cluster that includes: CHR WRVQ “Q94,” CHR W241AP “96.1 The Planet,” adult contemporary WTVR “Mix 98.1,” AC W253BI “BIG 98.5,” alternative WRXL “XL 102,” hip hop WBTJ “106.5 The Beat,” sport talk WRNL “FOX Sports 910” and news/talk WRVA “News Radio 1140.” Market president Rick Green comments, “I’m thrilled that Zac is joining our great programming team. Zac is a proven leader with great success in a diversity of formats which makes him a great fit for our eight-station cluster in Richmond.”
Odds & Sods. A new podcast series from PodcastOne launches titled, “How I Got Here.” It’s the work of recently graduated college roommates Tim Barnicle and Harry Hill who started wondering how to “make it” in the world, then decided to ask those who have “made it” to share their inspiring stories. The series kicks off September 20 with Emmy Award winner Tom Brokaw. This will be followed by Peabody Award winner and legendary interviewer Larry King in week two. New episodes will be available every Tuesday…..DGital Media and Learfield Sports are working together on a podcast project that will create original, non-event audio content for fans by the familiar, hometown radio voices associated with some of the nation’s most recognizable collegiate athletic programs, including the Alabama Crimson Tide, North Carolina Tar Heels, Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys, with additional programs to be added soon…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Show” is added to the program schedule at WTNW, Jasper, Tennessee…..NBC Sports Radio announces sports media personality Mike Tirico is joining the network as an NFL commentator this football season. Tirico is host of NBC’s “Football Night in America” and will be a featured contributor across NBC Sports Radio programming. He’ll also do interviews with affiliated stations……Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher (left) is pictured here with Eric Trump (right) during a meeting at the World Bar of the Trump World Tower in Manhattan. Gallagher, along with SRN hosts Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager (plus actor Jon Voight) stopped in NYC on the network’s “Decision 2016” tour that stops today (9/14) in Washington, Philadelphia, and Columbus, Ohio.
Client Story. The photo above shows WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3 FM” personality Brian Joyce (left), Peachtree Auto Painting & Collision owner Bobby Socol, and Joyce’s beloved 1964 Chevy Impala. Joyce tells TALKERS that when he decided his car needed a new paint job, the station contacted Peachtree in Chattanooga and came up with an endorsement deal he casually referred to as “Pimp Brian’s Ride!” “They put a beautiful new two-tone paint job on the car, I talked it up on the air and social media (Facebook and Instagram, primarily), and the results were fantastic. Peachtree says their phones have been ringing off the hook since we started the campaign, and they’ve generated a ton of phone calls and inquiries, not to mention, new business!” Joyce says Peachtree has continued to advertise with the station.
Carolyn Fox Candidate for WPRO-AM, Providence PM Drive Gig. That is according to a report from WJAR-TV, Providence. The station published a feature story about the Providence-born radio pro who’s been – among other things – working lately in the real estate business. Carolyn Fox, known in the Providence market for her time at rock WHJY, told the television station that she is under consideration for the drive time show at the Cumulus Media news/talker. It’s part of a “where are they now” story that presents Fox’s colorful radio history in the Northeast. The afternoon drive show opened up after longtime political figure and radio host Buddy Cianci died in January.
Presidential Race, Run-Up to Academy Awards, Apple vs FBI Case, Syrian Ceasefire, and Britain’s Looming EU Exit Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the controversy over the slate of nominees for Academy Awards; the battle between Apple and the FBI over the company’s refusal to hack an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists; the civil conflict in Syria and the brokered cease fire; and Britain’s June referendum on exiting the European Union were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cooke: Engage in Unconventional Convention Coverage. For news/talk stations planning to cover the Democratic and/or Republican conventions this summer, radio consultant Holland Cooke has some advice: don’t duplicate the national coverage. In other words, make your coverage unique and interesting to your listeners and don’t sound like the network news your station is probably also carrying. Cooke also cautions against airing live reports, instead using your technology to air produced reports with interesting elements. Read more here.
Townsquare Media’s Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 5.4% for 2015. The acquisition of North American Midway Entertainment and the robust performance of Townsquare Media’s live events division contributed to a net revenue increase of 20.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015. However, for the fourth quarter local advertising net revenue was basically flat (down 0.4%). Chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We believe our diversified strategy remains sound, demonstrated by the stability of our local advertising business and the outsized growth in our other businesses. In addition, we further diversified our business, with approximately half of revenue now derived from sources other than the sale of terrestrial radio advertising.” For all of 2015, local advertising net revenue (excluding political) increased 1.9% compared to 2014.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk personality Dino Costa will serve as host of the morning drive show on Randy Markel-owned KFNS, St. Louis “590 The Fan,” although a start date for the show has not been announced. Costa is currently broadcasting a live, three-hour nightly show via the internet…..Promoted from vice president of sales for the Cumulus Pensacola, Florida cluster to vice president/market manager is Davey Willhoit…..Nationally syndicated talk media personality Leslie Marshall is now part of the Worldwide Speakers Group, which describes itself as “a leading global professional services firm providing distinctive performance and innovative solutions in the global lecture industry to corporate, trade, education, and commercial customers worldwide.”
WPRO-AM, Providence Talk Host Buddy Cianci Dead at 74. The colorful former Providence mayor who turned his political experience into a talk radio career in the city has died, according to WPRI-TV, Providence. Buddy Cianci – diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014 – died at Providence’s Miriam Hospital early today (1/28). Cianci hosted the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM. He was with the station for most of the past 10 years, taking a required break from his radio gig to again run for mayor in 2014 and returning after his defeat in the election. His first foray into talk radio took place between his two stints as mayor at iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talker WHJJ. WRKO, Boston-based, independently syndicated talk radio star Howie Carr issued the following statement regarding Cianci’s death: “Buddy Cianci was the antithesis of political correctness, which is why his passing is such a great loss for Providence, the state of Rhode Island, and talk radio. They’re not making them like Buddy anymore. He was one of a kind, sui generis.”
Talk Programmer Jack Landreth Exits KMBZ, Kansas City PD Post. Talk radio pro Jack Landreth leaves the program director position at Entercom’s Kansas City talk duo KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM “Talk980.” Landreth arrived in KC in January of 2012 after programming such news/talk outlets as KXNT, Las Vegas and KTSA, San Antonio. He writes in a memo to his staff, “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished over the last four years as a team. Record ratings in our target demos have shattered all we thought we could do.” He can be emailed at: Jack.Landreth@me.com.
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York adds “The Frommer Travel Show” to its Saturday programming schedule. The show, featuring Frommer Media co-president and editorial director Pauline Frommer and Frommers.com editor-in-chief Jason Cochran, will be locally produced and air from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The weekly “Motley Fool Money” radio program with host Chris Hill adds new affiliate KVBR, Brainerd, Minnesota “Brainerd Business Radio” beginning this weekend…..CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh station group is presenting its eat.drink.WESTMORELAND event this Saturday (1/30). Attendees get to enjoy samples from more than a dozen of Westmoreland County’s finest restaurants plus new products, wines, beers and more. News/talk KDKA-AM afternoon drive co-host Robert Mangino is serving as emcee.
Presidential Race/Trump to Skip GOP Debate, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Volatility, European Immigrant Issues, Joseph Fiennes-Michael Jackson Flap, Oregon Militia Standoff, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The activities of the candidates for president, highlighted by Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in tonight’s Fox News Channel debate; low oil prices and the tumultuous world financial markets; the immigrant problems facing some European nations; the controversy over white actor Joseph Fiennes being cast in a film about Michael Jackson; the deadly turn of events in the Oregon Wildlife Preserve militia standoff; and the run-up to Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WGN, Chicago Extends Blackhawks Broadcast Deal for Five More Years. Chicago news/talker WGN and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks announce the signing of a five-year contract extension to keep Blackhawks play-by-play on the Tribune station through the 2023-24 season. The Blackhawks have been heard on WGN since the 2008-09 campaign. WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro states, “Many, myself included, believe that WGN Radio and the Chicago Blackhawks have the best partnership in sports. This renewal is testament to that. It’s an honor to formally extend this relationship and we look forward to celebrating many more Blackhawks wins with our WGN Radio listeners.” Pictured here are (from l-r): sports director Dave Eanet, producer Ross Cochran, news anchor Andrea Darlas, director of sales Jeff Hill, director of marketing Jackie Paulus, programming director Todd Manley, morning show host Steve Cochran, and de Castro.
DGital Media Partners with Cox to Distribute Herman Cain Show. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show will be syndicated and marketed by DGital Media beginning January 4, 2016. Cox Media Group and DGital Media are agreeing to have DGital Media serve as the exclusive advertising sales representative and its affiliated company WYM Media be the exclusive distributor, handling affiliate marketing. CMG director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs comments, “It is great to be working again with [DGital Media president] John Murphy and the rest of the DGital Media team. My particular experience with them is they are the most original thinkers of any audio company I’ve had the privilege of working with.” Cain’s program is currently heard on some 120 affiliate stations.
‘For Our Daughters’ Re-Ignites Campaign Against WPRO’s John DePetro. According to a piece at GoLocalProv.com, the organization For Our Daughters is renewing its efforts to get late morning talk host John DePetro off the air at Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence. This battle is an old one and the organization, which according to GoLocalProv.com is led by a number of prominent union leaders, is one with whom DePetro’s clashed on issues in the past. Organization chairwoman Maureen Martin issued the following statement, “Since we started, we estimate we have cost the station close to $150,000 in lost advertising revenue. However, we are disgusted that John DePetro is still allowed to spew his hate speech on the air at WPRO-AM. The lack of action by station management on this issue shows their willingness to empower a unrepentant misogynist. Their continued employment of Mr. DePetro implies their tacit assent to DePetro’s statements. Since our campaign started two years ago, DePetro has continued to berate women and minorities on a daily basis. This can no longer be tolerated. To that end, we have decided to ramp up our campaign to once and for all remove Mr. DePetro from the air.” For his part, DePetro says, “I host a very popular, successful, daily talk show where I allow the public to speak out on current events in the news. The content of my show is family friendly, and I speak with people of all ages and backgrounds. Once again, a group of union supporters and other ultra-liberal individuals, have targeted me and in an attempt to silence me.” Read the GoLocalProv.com piece here.
Chicago Talker Garry Meier to Begin Digital Venture. Chicago radio legend Garry Meier – 13 months removed from his most recent gig at Tribune’s wgn.fm digital platform – is entering the world of digital audio on his own with an online radio show and podcast beginning in 2016. He recently posted his plans on his website. He writes, in part: “As I examined the media landscape, I decided to do something that a great friend and mentor told me to do 10 years ago…onto the Internet…and while I wasn’t ready to make the leap a decade ago, I thought the time is right now to go digital, since everything in the media world is migrating there. It is migration that just about every state will accept. At this point in my career, I want to try something completely new that offers me more control and freedom and also is the wave of the future. While gas prices remain low, my excitement heading into this new chapter is very high. Another familiar voice will be part of the broadcast, as Leslie Keiling returns to do news. I’m happy to have her join me. It might not be the way you listened on traditional radio but breaking away from all of that, I think, is a good thing…so hello from the 50 trillion-watt WIFI.”
PodcastOne Shows Honored with iTunes Awards. This year, seven programs from PodcastOne are being honored in the iTunes Best of 2015 selections. The competitive list, compiled from a collection of more than 250,000 worldwide podcasts, features “The BIG Podcast with Shaq,” named one of the Best Recent Debuts, and “Steve Austin Unleashed” and WNYC-produced “Here’s the Thing,” named with the Best Classics. Celebrating the Most Downloads are “The Adam Carolla Show,” which recently re-upped with PodcastOne for five additional years, as well as “The Dan Patrick Show” and WNYC-produced “Freakonomics” and “Radiolab.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz states, “We are very proud of the network roster we have built in the last few years. From production, to distribution and advertising partnerships, all of our programs deliver compelling content that keeps all eyes (and ears) on our collective 200 podcasts.”
Odds & Sods. News/talk KLZ, Denver is adding David Leach’s “The Strident Conservative” commentaries to its programming. The Crawford Broadcasting-owned station is also featuring Leach as a regular contributor to its daily afternoon drive program…..A new podcast featuring Yahoo! Sports personality Adrian Wojnarowski is being produced, distributed and repped by DGital Media. Titled, “The Vertical Podcast with Woj,” the weekly program will focus on the NBA. DGital Media chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As a fan of the NBA, and as a fan of audio, I’m always searching for incredible storytellers who will provide a credible and intimate take without all the noise. We are incredibly honored to partner with a game-changing talent like Woj and a top brand like Yahoo! Sports.”…..The web series “Brown Bag Wine Tasting with William Shatner” takes three honors at the recent 7th Annual TASTE Awards. Shatner, CRN Digital Talk Radio, and producer Scott Sternberg partnered to create the show and sold it to Ora TV. CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO and president Michael J. Horn – who is also a sommelier – assists in the selecting and procuring of the wines…..SiriusXM is broadcasting 38 live college bowl games beginning with this Saturday’s Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. The satcaster is also airing the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship.
AdLarge and Touchdown Radio at the Heisman Dinner. Pictured here at last weekend’s 2015 Heisman Dinner are executives from AdLarge Media and 1992 Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta. The former University of Miami star and AdLarge are partners in Torretta’s Touchdown Radio for which AdLarge serves as exclusive ad rep. From left to right are: chief revenue officer Don Wachsmith; Torretta; co-founder and co-CEO Gary Schonfeld; and VP of business development Frank DeSantis.
2016 Presidential Race/GOP Debate, Freddie Gray Mistrial, Obama Gun Control Plans, Battle Against Islamic State, School District Terror Threats, Fed Ups Interest Rates, and Federal Student Drug Use Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Tuesday evening’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas; the mistrial in the first of six police officers to be tried in Baltimore in the death of Freddie Gray; President Obama’s meeting with former New York Governor Michael Bloomberg in formulating new gun control orders; the military campaign against Islamic State and concerns about radical Islamists among Syrian refugees; the terror threats being received by school districts in the U.S.; the hiking of interest rates by the Fed for the first time in nine years; and the just-released federal report on high school student drug use indicating marijuana use tops cigarette smoking for the first time were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Baltimore Talk Radio Figure Brian MacDonald Dead at 67. Heart failure is the reported cause of death for former WBAL and WCBM, Baltimore programmer and personality Brian MacDonald. MacDonald got his start in radio programming Baltimore Community College-owned public station WBJC-FM. He served as PD and afternoon host at WBAL from 1975 to 1985, then worked at crosstown WCBM on air for three years before leaving the radio industry.
TALKERS Spotlight: THE WATCHDOGS
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Contrasted to national talk radio hosts who can sometimes get deeply mired in a monotonous right against left (or vice versa) onslaught, many of their local counterparts emerge as bona fide folk heroes for standing up against a coterie of injustices inflicted on their fellow residents.
Actions taken by this band of “watchdogs,” in the overwhelming number of instances, have nothing to do with political leanings or a partisan playbook.
Legendary for rooting out the “bad guys,” afternoon talk hosts “John & Ken” (John Kobylt & Ken Champiou) expose what they consider dirty dealings to their very large audience on Los Angeles’ KFI. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, WRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr is a thorn in the side of the “powers that be” in New England. Everywhere in between, intense professional satisfaction comes when they go toe-to-toe with pit bull-like tenacity against the establishment. In that same sort of imagery, “hold their feet to the fire” has actually become a talk radio slogan as on-air talents attempt to expose and defeat “the bad guys.”