KFWB, Los Angeles Reportedly Sold. According to Los Angeles radio maven Don Barrett, there is finally a buyer for KFWB and it involves Charlie Banta-led Mercury Capital Partners. The Los Angeles Times also reports the story but does not name a buyer. The Times writes that staffers were told about the sale on Tuesday (1/5). As many TALKERS readers are aware, KFWB has been in the KFWB Asset Trust (while still benefitting CBS RADIO’s bottom line) for a long time. Some in the market have griped that CBS hasn’t been trying very hard to sell it and was basically getting away with violating the ownership limit. Regardless, in September of 2014 the station flipped from news/talk to sports talk as “The Beast 980” and is serving as the flagship for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, as well. Barrett Tweets that the new owners will assume control in February and since Mercury’s M.O. is ethnic programming and brokered radio, we’re likely to see a format change next month. That would put local sports talk personalities Fred Roggin, Bill Plaschke, Jeanne Zelasko, Chris Myers, Wes Clements and more out on the street. The Times reports that a format change is a certainty.
‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego Names Kevin Acee Evening Host. San Diego sports talk outlet XEPRS “The Mighty 1090” is naming San Diego sportswriter Kevin Acee the host of its evening program, “Trending Now.” Acee is a columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune, a position he will continue to hold. Acee also spent seven years as the San Diego Chargers beat writer and two years covering San Diego State football. Station VP of programming and operations Mike Shepard comments, “Kevin is a multi-media sports voice in San Diego who has the unique ability to connect and provide insight to sports fans on a variety of platforms. ‘Trending Now’ is the perfect showcase of his many talents, and we enthusiastically welcome Kevin to the full-time, all-star lineup on San Diego’s Sports Leader.”
Associated Press Offers 2016 Radio Campaign Kit. A new service for this year’s presidential election is being offered by the Associated Press. It’s called the 2016 Radio Campaign Kit, and AP calls it “a turnkey advantage that gives radio members election returns and AP journalists’ digital and on-air reporting on the presidential campaign in the months leading to Election Day and the inauguration of the 45th president in January.” AP has already inked Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington, among other stations. AP says that subscribers will receive verified vote counts in their home state and surrounding areas in primaries and the November 8 general election up to 12 times an hour via online maps and other modules. The modules will show delegate counts for both political parties, the popular vote, Electoral College totals for U.S. president and the balance of power in the U.S. Congress. In addition to dynamic election-night maps, the 2016 Radio Campaign Kit provides a suite of embeddable white-label interactives for use on AP members’ digital and on-air properties, optimized for display on mobile devices, desktops and tablets. AP director of election services Brian Scanlon comments, “The AP’s 2016 Radio Campaign Kit represents an important step for us as we continue to push to make our services responsive to our members’ needs around big-event stories such as the presidential campaign.” Interested stations can contact Paul Memoli at AP via email at email@example.com or phone 212-621-6923.
Odds & Sods. Springfield, Illinois talk personality Ray Lytle exits Saga Communications-owned news/talk WTAX in a budget-related move. Lytle had been with the station for the past two years after previously serving with Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk WMAY…..CFRA, Ottawa legendary personality Lowell Green is retiring from his daily radio show at the Bell Media talk station. The 79-year-old Green began his career in the news department at CFRA in 1960. He became a talk host six years later and has been hosting the Lowell Green show on the station since 1993. He won’t be in full retirement mode as he’ll continue to make appearances on the station…..Weekend technology talk show “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” announces the addition of some new affiliate stations as WGKA, Atlanta “AM 920 The Answer”; WRKO, Boston; and CKLW, Windsor, Ontario/Detroit are now carrying the program.
New York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards Opens Entry Process. In addition to the announcement that the New York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards are open for entries, comes news that there are three new categories this year. Those include: Biography/Profiles, Climate Change & Sustainability, and Music. The worldwide competition honoring the World’s Best Radio Programs℠ has been taking place since 1982 and receives entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from 32 countries around the globe. Radio program awards executive director Rose Anderson states, “New York Festivals recognizes the ever-evolving nature of the radio industry. Time does not stand still in the radio industry – new ways of reaching listeners and new ways of telling the important stories of our day drive change. So, every year, we work with our advisory board and we update some categories as well as create new ones. It is an organic ecosystem. We embrace the new while keeping the best practices of what has come before.” Anderson says the three new categories will provide a platform for those with a distinctive voice and point of view regarding issues and topics of interest. Anderson continues, “In our ever-changing world, radio is the original social media. There is a universal language of radio which connects us all – giving us the ability to meet directly in each other’s imagination and guided by the textures of sound to understand each other.” New York Festivals Radio Awards enlists jurists from all over the world to become members of the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury includes some of the most recognizable voices and captivating programming producers in the industry. Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. The ceremony for the World’s Best Radio Programs takes place at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York on June 20. The deadline for entries is March 18. To enter, log in here and find all the information you need. Inquiries can go to Gayle Mandel at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obama Gun Control Plan, Presidential Race, ‘White Anger’ Report, Saudi-Iran Diplomatic Break/Shiite-Sunni Tensions, Oregon Armed Protestors Standoff, Battle Against Islamic State, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). The executive order gun control plans announced by President Obama; the activities of the candidates for president; the Esquire/NBC News “American Rage” poll determining white Americans are the “angriest”; the diplomatic break between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the reported growing rift between Shiite and Sunni countries in the Middle East; the case of the armed protestors occupying an Oregon wildlife preserve; the recent military actions against Islamic State-held parts of Iraq; and this weekend’s NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CES 2016: Home and Health. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting from the enormous Consumer Electronics Show and today he files a story tipping us to some of the new technology and gadgets that some believe will be ubiquitous in both our homes and our cars in the not-too-distant future. Cooke writes that many of the technological helpers for around the home can be operated from the “remote” device most of us already carry – the smartphone – and that device is where “smart broadcasters are also publishing.” Read today’s full report here.
Rick Sanchez Joins WIOD, Miami in New Lineup. Clear Channel Media + Entertainment news/talk WIOD, Miami announces a new program lineup that includes cable news/talk veteran Rick Sanchez in the late morning slot. Program director Grace Blazer says on the station’s website, “Our new lineup reflects 610 WIOD’S strengthening commitment to high-quality local news, accurate weather, important traffic conditions, and the perfect balance of highly talented local and national personalities. The result will be a topical, informative and entertaining listener experience for the residents and businesses of South Florida.” The lineup includes “South Florida’s First News with Jimmy Cefalo” in morning drive, Sanchez from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon followed by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. The new program schedule takes effect on January 6.
Cuts at CBS Chicago Leave Anchor/Reporter Steve Grzanich Out. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has been writing about budget-related cuts at the CBS Radio cluster in Chicago for several days and now we know more about who’s been affected. At all-news WBBM-AM, anchor/reporter Steve Grzanich exits after 20 years with the station. ChicagoRadioandMedia.com tips us that Grzanich posted the following message on his Facebook page: “Dear Friends: I have breaking news…about me! After 20 years, I am signing off at WBBM Newsradio to explore other opportunities. I am hungry for a new challenge and must embark on the journey to find it starting now. But don’t go away! I’ll still be here in Chicago and on Facebook with news, weather and other stuff…just not on the 8s. Thank you for listening! Stay tuned for news about my next chapter.” The cluster also saw the release of longtime production/imaging staffer Michael Horn who worked for sister CHR WBBM-FM “B96.” Horn has been working with Killer Hertz since May of 2012 and ChicagoRadioandMedia.com reports he will continue to do freelance imaging work while he looks for his next opportunity. Feder reports that a number of sales staffers have been let go from the cluster.
Other CBS Radio Cuts Hit Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. According to sources in Southern California, there have been four layoffs at CBS stations there including KTRH news anchor Bob Malik and KNX traffic reporter Tommy Jaxson. The two others are believed to be front office staffers. In Pittsburgh, changes come to sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” as Vinnie Richichi exits the Vinnie & Cook midday program and Paul Alexander leaves the morning drive show. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik reports that Richichi and Ron Cook never got along, it was obvious on the air and that led to Richichi’s departure, plus morning host Gregg Giannotti was not happy working with Alexander. Finally, in Atlanta Kendra G. and Christopher “Crash” Clark exit the Ryan Cameron morning show at urban contemporary WVEE “V103.”
Lineup Changes at Fox Sports Radio Network in the New Year. The national lineup from Fox Sports Radio Network will look a little different come January 5, 2014. Gone from the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot will be Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman from “Fox Sports Primetime” with replacement(s) to be announced later. J.T. the Brick moves from the overnight slot to the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot accompanied by sidekick Tomm Looney, displacing the current Petros & Money show. Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith will continue to be heard on Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles. Rob Dibble and Amy Van Dyken leave “Fox Sports Tonight” and the NFL Network’s and Fox Sports Network’s Jason Smith takes over that show airing from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET while Fox Sports Radio weekend personality Ben Maller becomes the 2:00 am to 6:00 am host.
Cox Enterprises Promotes Dyer to President/CEO. Current chief operating officer John Dyer will be elevated to Cox Enterprises president/chief executive officer when he officially succeeds retiring CEO Jimmy Hayes on Wednesday, January 1. Cox Enterprises is the parent company of Cox Media Group. According to Cox Enterprises chairman Jim Kennedy, “In the 36 years John has worked at Cox, he has always done a terrific job and always risen to meet every new challenge he was presented. He has been an incredible chief operating officer and he understands all our businesses. He is committed to our employees and our customers. I am excited to work with [him] as he leads our company in an exciting future.” Dyer comments, “Cox is a company that values its employees, delivers superior products and services to its customers, and strives to be a responsible and sustainable corporate partner in the communities in which we operate. I am excited about the ways we will continue to grow our existing businesses and invest in future opportunities.” In addition to Cox Media Group, Dyer will be responsible for Cox Communications, Manheim, and AutoTrader Group, as well as corporate functions including financial operations, human resources and administration.
Bob Murray Takes Leave from WTAX, Springfield to Battle Brain Tumor. “Morning Newswatch” host Bob Murray tells listeners in an open letter that he is taking time from the Saga Communications news/talk outlet to focus on “getting better and being with loved ones.” Murray writes: “As you have probably heard, I have decided to elect for an extended medical leave of absence from my post as the host of the ‘WTAX Morning Newswatch’ due to newly discovered health concerns. Many people have enquired (sic) into what is going on, and I thought it would be best you hear it from me. I have been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer and will be taking this leave from work as an opportunity to focus my time on getting better and being with family and loved ones. While this is far from an ideal situation, we are remaining positive and focusing on staying strong. In the days following the announcement, it has been so incredibly humbling to feel the outpour of prayers and support from all directions, and I am pretty positive I will never be able to properly express how much that means to my family and me. I also want to thank the WTAX family and central Illinois area for their many years of loyal listenership. It has truly been an honor to start each day with you, tackling the issues that matter to us. I hope to be back in the capital soon, focusing on what I love, delivering the news, sports, entertainment and important local happenings to you.”
‘Jay Talking’ Permanent Overnight Show on WBZ-AM, Boston. Bradley Jay’s “Jay Talking” program is now the official overnight program on CBS Radio’s news and talk WBZ-AM, Boston. Jay has been working in the news and talk realm for some time (he also serves as the executive producer for “Nightside with Dan Rea”) but he got his start in music radio and worked at the legendary rock outlet WBCN. In fact, he hosted the last show at “The Rock of Boston” before a frequency swap and format change ended the station’s run.
NRG, Omaha Names Davis KOOO Brand Manager. In addition to being appointed brand manager of NRG Media, Omaha adult hits KOOO “Big O 101.9,” talk host Crash Davis takes on marketing director duties for that Nebraska market’s entire NRG cluster. Operations manager Jeff Lynn comments, “Crash has been an integral part of our team for the past year. He is very versatile and has a keen sense of what the Omaha listener wants and loves about ‘Big O.’ He brings many of the talents and skill sets we need to propel ‘Big O’ to new heights in the ratings and to drive results for our advertisers.” Davis remarks, “I am delighted to have a more prominent role on a station I have watched evolve over the past several years. I have great respect for [morning talent] Dave Wingert and the rest of the on-air team. Our great variety of music and the content we talk about resonates with listeners. I will do my part to enhance our reputation with the listeners and advertisers.” Davis has been in Omaha radio the past 15 years, including as a host on NRG talk outlet KOIL “The Mighty 1290” and as the afternoon drive talent on cross-town Clear Channel-owned talk station KFAB.
Salem Selects Dr. Frank Wright As President/COO. Eleven-year National Religious Broadcasters president/chief executive officer Dr. Frank Wright will join Salem Communications Corporation on Wednesday, January 1 as president/chief operating officer. Dr. Wright will report directly to Salem chief executive officer and director Edward Atsinger. “Frank has more than 20 years of experience working in – and with – broadcast media organizations,” Atsinger comments. “He has also developed a robust network among DC-based public policy organizations, as well as DC-based political organizations. Frank is an effective leader and team-builder with a strong entrepreneurial background, and he has extensive executive experience in strategic planning and organizational structure. I expect him to hit the ground running and work closely with me in executing our business strategies.” Before joining the NRB, Dr. Wright spent seven years as executive director of the Center for Christian Statesmanship; he has a doctorate in finance.
Will Salem Purchase Eagle Publishing on January 15? The story that Politico reported late last week is a done deal, according to BuzzFeed which states staffers at Eagle Publishing have been told the sale will take place on January 15. According to the BuzzFeed piece, Salem Communications will add to its conservative print and digital assets with the acquisition and that as many as 90% of staffers will remain with the Eagle division; it’s the upper management positions that will be eliminated due to redundancy. Eagle operates RedState.com, Human Events and Regnery Publishing. Salem recently acquired Twitchy.com from conservative pundit, columnist and author Michelle Malkin.
Sean’s New Digs! Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Sean Hannity (right) is pictured here with pundit and author Ann Coulter (center) and fellow Premiere star Glenn Beck (left) at Hannity’s new Premiere Networks studios at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Hannity leaves his longtime home base at WABC, New York at the end of the year and his program will emanate from flagship WOR, New York beginning in January.
Budget Deal, NSA Data Mining Ruling, ObamaCare Criticism, Mega Millions Jackpot, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Marxism Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The battle in the U.S. Senate over the details of the Congressional budget deal; the aftermath of a judge’s ruling the NSA data mining program “probably unconstitutional”; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Pope Francis’ “Marxist” economic philosophy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.