Mary Walter Joins WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s ‘Mornings On The Mall.’ Radio pro Mary Walter is named the co-host of the “Mornings On The Mall” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Walter is working with co-host Brian Wilson. She takes over for Larry O’Connor, who recently moved to the afternoon drive daypart. Walter was most recently with iHeartMedia’s WHAS, Louisville, hosting the evening program. She’s been a frequent guest host on WMAL in addition to guest host stints on FOX News Radio and SiriusXM’s The Patriot channel. WMAL program director Bill Hess comments, “Mary’s experience, energy, and familiarity to our audience made her the perfect addition to our team.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Midday Show. The new midday show at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee is being unveiled. The station moved Jeff Wagner to the late morning slot that opened up with the retirement of Charlie Sykes at the end of last year. Now, taking over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is the “Scaffidi & Bilstad” show with Steve Scaffidi (center) and executive producer Erik Bilstad (left). Scaffidi was most recently mayor of suburban Oak Creek and an account executive at the Leonard & Finco Public Relations firm. He’s resigned from both posts to join WTMJ. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “We’re pleased to welcome Steve to our team. He brings a great depth of knowledge and local connection to add to his take on the news of the day. Steve is a Wisconsin native, has a deep background and so much life experience, beyond broadcasting.” News anchor and reporter Colleen Boland (right) will man the newsroom during the program. The show debuts on February 28.
ABC News Radio Makes Staffing Changes; Gearing Towards Covering Breaking News. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS magazine that the news organization is making staffing changes that signal a shift from putting its primary resources into newscasts and focusing more intently on the coverage of breaking news, “reflecting immediacy and producing additional program content” for their approximately 1,575 affiliates. ABC News Radio says it has parted ways with a handful of employees but is in the process of hiring for a number of positions that will exceed those eliminated. Those include: Affiliate Solutions Manager, Associate Producer, Country Reporter/Producer, Urban Reporter/Producer, and WGA Newswriter/Producer. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS, “These changes allow ABC News Radio to provide more two-ways, breaking news and anchored coverage which have become more important to stations. It is never easy when fellow employees leave and we wish the very best to these colleagues. The media landscape is always evolving and it’s critical we’re meeting stations’ needs every step of the way.”
Erik Kuselias to Host Daily Talk Show on Genesis Communications Florida Talk Stations. Known primarily for his work in the sports media business, Erik Kuselias is expanding his reach in Florida by hosting a daily, two-hour talk show on Genesis Communications-owned news/talk outlets WWBA, Tampa and WIXC, Titusville (on the Space Coast). Kuselias – a former ESPN and NBC Sports personality – currently hosts a morning drive sports talk show on the company’s sports talk duo WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. He’s continuing in that role in addition to the new program that airs from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda states, “This is a natural progression for EK. We launched EK on the sports stations in both Tampa and Orlando last year. He is incredibly talented and will produce one of talk radio’s best programs. He will also continue to provide his brand of content on the company digital platforms, ‘News Talk Florida’ and ‘Sports Talk Florida.’”
Bubba the Love Sponge Files New Counterclaim Against Nielsen. The first time Bubba the Love Sponge filed a counterclaim against Nielsen, the court denied the motion ruling that it was difficult to discern the relevant facts due to the heavily redacted documents supplied by plaintiff Nielsen. That counterclaim included third parties Cox Media Group and CMG employee (and WHPT, Tampa personality) Mike Calta. But the denial was without prejudice, allowing Bubba’s lawyers to try again. And he has, this time leaving Cox and Calta out of the counterclaim. The counterclaim still alleges Nielsen entered into a conspiracy with Cox Media Group to get Bubba off the air in Tampa and interfere with his ability to do business with Beasley Media Group (owner of Tampa affiliate WBRN). The specific counterclaims are: Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships, Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Civil Conspiracy.
KFYO, Lubbock, Texas Names Dave King & Matt Martin Morning Hosts. Friday (2/17) was the last day for the “First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac” on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KFYO, Lubbock, Texas. Assuming the morning show role are Dave King (right) and Matt Martin (left). The station says, “Both Dave and Matt are easy going, view the world from a conservative viewpoint, and want to interact with KFYO listeners. King is owner of Dave King Advertising in Lubbock. Matt Martin is a realtor with The Wyatt Team at Keller Williams.
Neuhoff Ups Byerly to DOS and Associate GM for Decatur Station Group. Moving up from her general sales manager position at Neuhoff Communications’ Decatur, Illinois cluster is Kathy Byerly. She’s now director of sales and associate general manager for the group that includes news/talk WSOY, sports talk WDZ, hip hop WCZQ “HOT 105.5,” CHR WSOY-FM “Y103,” and country WDZQ “95Q.” Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey states, “Kathy is a wonderful success story. She has grown a career from the front desk to market leadership. You can’t get much better than that. The group of Decatur stations and digital products are not only the market leaders, they also have been recognized among the best in the industry. Kathy will help support those traditions while driving more business to our advertising partners.”
Hanging Out at the Club. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk host Michael Savage and his son, Rockstar energy drink founder Russ Weiner, crossed paths with President Donald Trump at the chief executive’s famous Palm Beach, Florida private club, Mar-a-Lago, this weekend. They were attending a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy when the president stopped by to say hello. Pictured (l-r): Ruddy, Trump, Savage, and Weiner.
Limbaugh-Touted Book Debuts at #6 on NYT Bestseller List. The latest book by conservative writer David Horowitz – Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America – debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list at #6 in the hardcover nonfiction books and e-book/hardcover nonfiction categories. Newsmax reports that the book was released the week of President Trump’s inauguration and is being praised by Rush Limbaugh, among other conservative media figures, for its predictions about Trump’s agenda. Horowitz is founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
New Trump Travel Order, McMaster Named National Security Advisor, Trump’s Sweden Comment, McCain vs Trump, UK’s Anti-Trump Debate, Uber Sexual Harassment Scandal, Yiannopoulos Controversies, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The Trump Administration issues new travel order exempting green card holders; President Donald Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster national security advisor; the controversy over Trump’s allusion to crime in Sweden and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s allegations that violent crime there has spiked due to immigrants; Republican Senator John McCain’s role as a major critic of Trump’s policies; the British House of Commons debates denying President Trump’s state visit; the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber’s corporate headquarters and the company’s hiring former AG Eric Holder to investigate; the controversies surrounding media figure Milo Yiannopoulos, including his being uninvited to CPAC and Simon and Schuster refusing to release his book; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix market broadcast legend Pat McMahon is being roasted on March 15 at local comedy club Stand Up Live in an event being organized by Bonneville news/talk outlet KTAR-FM. The “Tip of the Hat to Pat” roast is being hosted by KNIX personality Tim Hattrick and will feature rock legend Alice Cooper, as well as local celebrities Jude LaCava from Fox 10, John Holmberg from KUPD, authors Jana Bommersbach and Rita Davenport and former ADL director Bill Straus. McMahon says, “I’m feeling both honored and terrified at the prospect of this event. But you can be sure that I’ll be able to dish it out, just as well as I can take it.”…..New York Mets flagship station WOR, New York announces it will air play-by-play for 15 spring training games, beginning on February 24 when the Mets take on the Boston Red Sox…..The New York Times recently published a feature story about Premiere Networks host George Noory. In the piece, the “Coast to Coast AM” host discusses how “Coast to Coast AM” has evolved over the years, his open approach to stories and topics, and his relationship with his audience. Read the story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Atlanta cluster of Cox Media Group, Jaleigh Long is promoted to director of sales. She moves up from her general sales manager role. She’ll oversee the sales efforts for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM,” and country simulcast WNGC/WTSH “Your Georgia Country.”…..At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois “104.9 The X,” Zander – who’s been morning host and PD since joining the station in August of last year – moves to the afternoon drive slot. At the same time, Lori joins the station from crosstown competitor WKGL “96.7 The Eagle.”…..In the Lexington, Kentucky market, iHeartMedia drops sports talk on the simulcast of WWTF-AM and translator W239DJ at 97.7 FM and flips it to rock as “WTF 97.7 Lexington’s Rock Alternative.” Air personalities include Aly, Big Rig, Audrey, and Shroom…..Binnie Media says good bye to classic music on its WBQX, Thomaston, Maine and translator W245AA, Portland at 96.9 FM. WBQX takes on the classic hits format “FRANK FM” while the translator is simulcasting country station WTHT, Auburn “99.9 The Wolf.”
iHeartRadio Music Awards Announces Best New Artist Nominees. When the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards take place on Sunday, March 5 at the Forum in Los Angeles, one of the awards to be given will be the Best New Artist. The ultimate winner will be chosen by fans from all categories of popular music. The first step was naming the nominees in each category. Now, the finalists have been named. They are: Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist: The Strumbellas; Best New Country Artist: Kelsea Ballerini; Best New Hip-Hop Artist: Chance the Rapper; Best New Latin Artist: CNCO; Best New Regional Mexican Artist: Joss Favela; Best New Pop Artist: The Chainsmokers; and Best New R&B Artist: Bryson Tiller. The awards show will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET and simulcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as on iHeartRadio.
CBS Reports Q4 2016 and Full-Year Financials; CBS Presented as Discontinued Operation. The latter is due to the pending merger of CBS Radio with Entercom and it means that CBS did not present any revenue information or operating income metrics for the radio division. Here’s what the company has to say about the Entercom deal: “In connection with the transaction, which is expected to be tax-free to CBS Corporation and its stockholders, the Company intends to split-off CBS Radio through an exchange offer immediately prior to the merger. The merger will create a well-capitalized company with a market cap in excess of $2 billion, a strong balance sheet, significant free cash flow, and the ability to pay an attractive dividend. The combined company is expected to generate meaningful cost synergies within 12-18 months after the merger. The Company expects to complete the transaction in the second half of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions.” In a press statement, CBS Corporation chairman and CEO Les Moonves states, “2016 was a phenomenal year for the CBS Corporation, with all-time highs in revenue, operating income, and EPS [earnings per share] that came in above $4 for the first time in our Company’s history; and as we begin 2017, I couldn’t be more excited about our growth prospects in the years ahead.” During yesterday’s investor conference call, COO Joseph Ianniello addressed the radio deal, saying, “CBS shareholders who participate in this split-off will own 72% of the combined company which will have best-in-class assets and will clearly be the best capitalized radio company in the industry. The combined radio business will benefit from increased scale, stronger cash flow and real operational synergies which should drive higher profitability. The new company will also have the ability to pay an attractive dividend.”
Cumulus Extends Early Tender Date for Note Exchange. This is the third extension of Cumulus Media Inc’s offer for its previously announced private exchange offer for 7.75% Senior Notes due 2019 issued by Cumulus Media Holdings Inc. Obviously not satisfied with the number of takers, the company is extending the early tender date to March 6 (5:00 pm ET). The company explains that “Eligible Holders tendering their Outstanding Notes prior to the Early Tender Date, as extended that are accepted for exchange, will receive the ‘Total Exchange Consideration.’” That exchange includes “revolving loans, the participation interests, the trust certificates and the shares of Class A common stock (or warrants, if applicable), Class D common stock and Class E common stock.”
TALKERS Editorial Board Tackling Freedom of Speech Award Decision. The TALKERS magazine editorial board has begun the sensitive and often-controversial task of deciding its annual roster of major award recipients in the categories of “Lifetime Achievement,” “Woman of the Year,” “Humanitarian of the Year,” and “Freedom of Speech” – the latter being the most potentially contentious of all – especially in today’s highly charged, politically polarized news/talk environment. In his weekly address to the editors, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “This award is always a sensitive issue because freedom of speech is one of the most difficult concepts to explain and the award is doubly difficult to defend – especially when a significant percentage of people immediately assume that the organization presenting the honor necessarily endorses the political position of the recipient.” Harrison continued, “TALKERS has a distinguished history of non-partisanship in its editorial coverage of political news/talk media and this has been reflected in the diversity of positions held by the recipients of this prestigious award over the decades. The award is not a reward for saying something ‘controversial’ with which we necessarily agree but, rather, for conducting oneself as a broadcaster in a manner that clearly displays the tenets of the First Amendment in action, as well as showing the courage of one’s convictions in facing the negative blowback and consequences of one’s public stance.” Harrison cited Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity, Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and former WTMJ, Milwaukee host Charlie Sykes among worthy candidates to be considered for this year’s honor, stating, “Hannity showed amazing courage coming out early and unswervingly for Donald Trump when it was not clear which way his core audience would swing and what the outcome of the primary and general election would be. Medved, also a conservative, came out early against Trump and then stuck to his guns as an objective observer of the candidate and now-president’s pros and cons as he sees them – even against negative criticism from his listeners and even members of his own syndication company. Sykes actually let his cool job in Milwaukee slide away rather than back down from his perception of the truth.” Harrison concluded, “And there are many more examples of news/talk hosts having to take a principled stand with uncertain consequences as a result of this turbulent but exciting chapter of talk radio history in the making.” The TALKERS awards will be presented on Friday, June 2 at Talkers 2017: A New Era in New York City. For information about the 20th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest running and most important national convention, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. Beginning with this year’s 2017 NFL season, Washington Redskins football play-by-play (including some pre- and post-game programming) will be heard on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. The games will continue to air on Red Zebra properties WTEM, Washington “ESPN980”; WWXT, Prince Frederick, Maryland; and WWXX, Buckland, Virginia. This is a homecoming of sorts for Redskins football; the team’s games have aired on WMAL-AM from time-to-time as far back as 1942. WMAL-AM/FM vice president and GM Jake McCann comments, “We are excited and honored to be working with the Redskins again. The Redskins and WMAL were partners during the team’s three glorious Super Bowl-winning seasons. We look forward to bringing the combined assets of WMAL to this exciting, renewed partnership.”…..NBA All-Star 2017 begins today and SiriusXM is offering coverage with special, live programming from New Orleans on its NBA Radio channel, in addition to the live broadcast of the 66th NBA All-Star Game. Coverage will be hosted by Milwaukee Bucks guard Jason Terry, former players Eddie Johnson and Tim Legler, as well as Frank Isola, Jason Jackson, Joel Meyers, Justin Termine and Brian Geltzeiler…..The Forbes on PodcastOne network premieres “The Forbes List” today (2/16), featuring an in-depth look at the world’s top billionaires. The show – hosted by Jordan Harbinger dives into the stories behind Forbes’ most famous lists, including the Forbes 400 list featuring the wealthiest Americans, as well as lists covering celebrities, music, sports, entrepreneurs, companies and the world’s most powerful people. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz comments, “This makes our third launch of a new Forbes podcast and points out the strong relationship between Forbes and PodcastOne. Jordan Harbinger has hosted “Art of Charm,” which consistently ranks in iTunes’ top 10. This provides a combination that’s tough to beat.”
Violent Tragedy Strikes Dominican Radio Station. Two radio journalists were shot dead and a third staffer was seriously wounded in a raid on a radio station in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday. Numerous news outlets are reporting that news presenter Luis Manuel Medina and station director Leonidas Martinez were killed when unidentified men entered the station and shot Medina while he read a newscast and Martinez as he sat in his office. Medina was streaming his newscast live on Facebook at the time of the attack. It took place at radio station 103.5 FM in San Pedro de Macoris, a town near Santo Domingo. The AFP reports that the organization Reporters without Borders states that journalists that investigate corruption and the drug business are often the victims of violent attacks.
Sports, Music, Politics and Talk Media. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined in a free-wheeling dialogue by his long-time friend, New York City radio broadcaster Richard Neer as his guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out.” The two talk about the public’s and media’s obsession with Donald Trump, with an emphasis on the infiltration of sports and entertainment by political passions. Richard Neer brings his diverse background as a legendary Big Apple music radio host (WNEW-FM), sports talker (WFAN) and best-selling author of the landmark book FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) to the discussion which focuses on the rapid morphing of the traditional left/right talk media paradigm into a more complex resistance/revolution chess game. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Trump Campaign Russia Communications/Flynn Exit, Puzder Withdraws From Labor Secretary Nomination, Reince Preibus’ Status, Trump vs Intelligence Community, Fate of ObamaCare, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The controversy over the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and questions about the depth of communications between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian agents; Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder withdraws from consideration for the cabinet position; questions about the status of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus after unconfirmed reports President Trump is unhappy with his work; the contentious relationship between Trump and the intelligence community; the fate of the Affordable Care Act after Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told the Wall Street Journal the program is in a “death spiral”; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The performer and host lineups have been announced for the March 5 iHeartRadio Music Awards taking place at the Forum in Los Angeles. The evening will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest and will air live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET will be broadcast on iHeartMedia-owned stations nationwide, as well as on the iHeartRadio. Performers will include: Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers, Shawn Mendes, Thomas Rhett, Noah Cyrus and Big Sean, in addition to the previously announced Bruno Mars…..Entercom San Diego is expanding the platform for its culinary audio feature, “Lick the Plate,” which has been airing on alternative KBZT “FM94/9,” adult contemporary KXSN “Sunny 98.1,” and country KSON. The David Boylan-hosted program will now be available in podcast format via the stations’ websites. The radio stations will continue to promote the show via on-air teaser segments. These changes take effect on February 27…..Radio programming for the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards from Westwood One is being announced. Westwood One and Cumulus Media are the official national radio partners for the ACM Awards. There will be a three-hour ACM Nomination Special, hosted by Thomas Rhett, on March 25 from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight as part of “NASH Nights Live.” The ACM Radio Row will take place on Friday, March 31 from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm ET and Saturday, April 1 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm ET. Then, the five-hour ACM Night Of Event Coverage will happen on Sunday, April 2 from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight…..Beasley Media Group’s adult hits WBEN-FM, Philadelphia is announcing a new weekend program featuring Kathy Romano. The show is titled, “Her Story,” and will air Sundays at 7:30 am. Romano – who works for sister rock station WMMR as part of the “Preston & Steve” show – says, “I’m thrilled to be the host of ‘Her Story’ on 95.7 BEN FM! This is giving me the opportunity for some girl talk that just doesn’t make sense on WMMR’s ‘Preston & Steve’ show. There are so many amazing women with fascinating stories that we just don’t get to hear. Every Sunday morning I’m going to bring listeners the great stories these dynamic women have to tell!”…..Radio One hip hop outlet WKYS, Washington announces that Danni Starr is joining “The Fam in The Morning” as co-host alongside QuickSilva. Radio One DC SVP and general manager Jeff Wilson comments, “Danni is the full package. She’s amazingly smart, well versed in music and community activism. Danni is authentic and transparent about her struggles and victories. That kind of energy and wit will serve our listeners well on-air, in social media and on the street.” Starr has worked in radio for more than a decade and is the face of TLCme on the TLC network.
Midland Pays Valentine’s Day Visit to NASH Campus. New country act and Big Machine recording group Midland is pictured here with “NASH Nights Live” co-hosts Elaina Smith (second from left) and Shawn Parr (second from right).
PPM Analysis: Country. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the ratings performances of country-formatted stations based on Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2016 PPM survey. In this report, see charts detailing country stations’ (6+) numbers over the past six PPM surveys, fluctuations from December to the Holiday survey, comparisons to performances in the Holiday 2015 and Holiday 2016 surveys, station market ranks and more. Click here for more.
Salem Radio Network Adds Nightly, Syndicated Joe Walsh Show to Lineup. The change takes place on February 20 when WIND, Chicago-based talk show host (and former Congressman from Illinois) Joe Walsh takes over the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET show on the Salem Radio Network, bumping the Steve Deace syndicated show from the timeslot. Walsh hosts the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on WIND and will continue in that role, adding the syndicated, late night show to his duties. Salem SVP Phil Boyce comments, “We have been watching Joe work locally in Chicago and have seen outstanding development. His audience there continues to grow and we felt he would continue to do well on the national stage. Joe is a courageous and fearless warrior on the conservative side, who encourages his audience to take a strong stand for what is right.”
Casey Bartholomew to Program WFSX, Fort Myers-Naples. Longtime New Jersey-based talk radio pro Casey Bartholomew announces he’s been named the new program director at Sun Broadcasting’s news/talk WFSX, Fort Myers-Naples “92-5 FOX News.” He writes in a Facebook post, “This will, for a time, require me to give up being on the air on a daily basis. But, I will still be able to do my fill-in work, and it may provide a chance for me to do a daily show on the station in the future. This is an exciting, new opportunity for me and I hope it all works out the way I’m hoping. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Brad Fanning Co-Hosts Afternoons at KCSP, Kansas City. Kansas City sports talker KCSP “610 Sports” names Brad Fanning co-host of the afternoon program, “The Drive,” alongside Carrington Harrison and producer Ben Heisler. Fanning takes over the slot vacated by Danny Parkins who moved to Chicago to co-host middays at WSCR “The Score.” Fanning previously worked in the Kansas City market as a sports reporter for KCTV-TV.
Jeff Pantridge Assumes Afternoon Duties at ‘ESPN 94.1’ in Norfolk. Norfolk sports talk outlet WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1” names Jeff Pantridge afternoon sports talk personality, taking over the role vacated by Nick Cattles, who moved to Boston for a gig at WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” During his career, Pantridge has served with CBS Radio at the former WHFS-FM, Tampa and he produced the WFLA-AM, Tampa show hosted by Todd Schnitt. He’ll continue to work with Max Media staffers Matthew Steinberg and A.J. Risser, who’d been co-hosting the afternoon show after Cattles’ departure.
Scripps News/Talker WTMJ, Milwaukee Debuts ‘Mobile’ Podcast Network. Milwaukee news/talk outlet WTMJ is unveiling its new “WTMJ Mobile” – a podcast network that includes popular WTMJ shows on-demand in addition to locally based podcasters from Milwaukee and Wisconsin. The Scripps-owned station says this pilot program also includes exclusive podcasts for the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks. WTMJ and WKTI VP news, talk, and sports programming for radio Tom Langmyer states, “This uniquely Wisconsin platform expands our content offerings, builds strong third party partnerships and takes Scripps’ Milwaukee brands to new levels.” WTMJ director of programming Eric Brooks adds, “‘WTMJ Mobile’ helps ensure our continued leadership position in spoken-word content. Our live programming every day is valued content for our listeners. With the podcast network, our audiences have full access to choose the unique, digital-first content they want and when. Our diverse list of offerings will continue to increase the impact of WTMJ throughout the region.” In addition to station-created content, WTMJ has partnered with Milwaukee organizations, including NEWaukee, the Milwaukee Brewing Company, Startup Milwaukee and many more to create a uniquely Wisconsin podcast experience. Director of marketing and innovation J. Pat Miller says, “With podcasting, WTMJ has exponentially expanded the amount of content we provide, while championing more local voices to engage our connected, vibrant listeners.”
New Sales Roles Filled at CBS Radio in Chicago. With the transition of John Cravens to a consulting role for CBS Radio in Chicago, the company announces that Chad Feldman is assuming the position of director of news and sports sales, in which he’ll oversee sales activities of all-news WBBM-AM, sports talk WSCR “The Score,” and play-by-play assets for Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears broadcasts. At the same time, the company names Joe Mackay director of music sales for CHR WBBM-FM “B96,” triple A WXRT, country WUSN “US99,” and classic hits WJMK. Feldman – an 11-year CBS Radio Chicago staffer – was most recently GSM for WSCR. Mackay was serving as national sales manager for CBS Radio’s Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh stations. About his new role, Feldman comments, “After a career devoted to sports radio, it’s humbling for me to be given the good fortune to lead four of the most iconic Chicago radio brands ever. Coming here from Washington, DC 15 years ago, I would never have imagined I would be given this opportunity. I am grateful and excited about what is to come.” The company also names general sales managers for four of its stations. They are: Paul Agase for WBBM-FM, Dan Richman for WXRT, Carla Ross for WJMK, and Sheila Mulcahy for WUSN.
Now Playing on Talkers TV: ‘Needless to Say…’ Consultant Holland Cooke says, “Your voice is competing for attention with a barrage of noise, thousands of other messages that vie for your listeners’ attention every day. To ‘break through,’ broadcasters and podcasters must ‘communicate clearly.’” Check out the Talkers TV video in the upper right-hand of this page in which Cooke offers specific coaching advice.
Comrex to Display New IP Audio Gateway at NAB Show 2017. This new product is called Opal – a portmanteau for Opus Portal – and it’s an IP audio gateway that creates a studio internet audio portal. Install it in your studio and then anyone accessing it through a computer or Android device (with a microphone, earpiece, and browser) is able to broadcast from their computer or phone in high fidelity. High quality return audio is also provided to the guest. This product is optimal for audio programs and news departments that regularly use remote guests. It allows them to deliver “studio quality” sound without the need for any special equipment on their end. Comrex notes that “Opal is ideal for users who need to coordinate call-ins with non-technical remote guests – guests can simply click a link and connect instantly. Opal establishes the link using the Opus encoder, for excellent fidelity and low delay. Opal can support two connections at once and provides two independent professional audio I/O ports to the studio. Opal occupies 1/2U of rack space, and two can fit side-by-side in a 19” rack shelf. Connections to Opal can only be made from browsers that support WebRTC (Chrome and Firefox) at this time. Check it out in Las Vegas April 22-27.
TALKERS News Notes. And the winner is… Motel 6! The hospitality chain takes home the gold in the Westwood One Sports Sound Awards – the fourth annual contest to determine the most popular audio commercials aired the Super Bowl broadcast. The winner was Motel 6’s ad in which spokesman Tom Bodett tries to incorporate millennial lingo to promote the hotel chain. Bodett says the ad truly was “on fleek.” In 2nd place was also Motel 6 with their ad “Disclaimer,” which found Bodett trying his best to not mention certain trademarked names that would land the hotel chain in legal trouble. Finally, in 3rd place was Hagerty Insurance’s spot in which it pulled on the heartstrings of car lovers everywhere while taking listeners back to the first car they owned…..SiriusXM announces the appointment of political analyst and former Hillary Clinton aide Zerlina Maxwell as director of progressive programming. In this new role, Maxwell is overseeing the editorial direction of the Progress 127 channel. SiriusXM says, “With the addition of the progressive and feminist stalwart, the left-leaning channel has positioned itself with a renewed focus on both activism and resistance to the actions of the new Trump administration.” Maxwell served as the Clinton campaign’s director of progressive media. She’ll report to SiriusXM VP/GM of talk programming Dave Gorab…..Radio station operators currently using satellite AMC-8 (139 degrees West Longitude) have until June 30 to repoint their satellite dishes to migrate to the new AMC-18 at 105 degrees West Longitude. There are five networks that use AMC-8 and are moving their service to AMC-18: Learfield, Orbital Media Networks (OMNi), Premiere Networks, Skyview Networks and Westwood One, in addition to syndicators who lease their satellite time from these five companies…..American Private Radio, distributor of “Our American Stories” to more than 40 U.S. radio markets is offering a Presidents Day special for radio stations that would like to air the program on Monday, February 20. Host and APR CEO Lee Habeeb says the Presidents Day special will be “a beautiful tribute to arguably the most important historical figure in U.S. history, our first President George Washington. We will weave together anecdotes, memoirs and biographical accounts of the public – and personal – life of Washington, including magnificent story-telling authentically narrated by two-time Pulitzer-Prize winning author and biographer David McCullough, who has written extensively about our nation’s first President.” For information on securing this special presentation, contact Our American Stories at 239-470-9297 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trump Travel Ban Court Fight, Elizabeth Warren vs. Jeff Sessions, Trump and U.S. Murder Rate, U.S.-Yemen Relations, Kremlin Demands Apology from FOX News, and Status of ObamaCare Repeal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7). The court battle over President Donald Trump’s order preventing travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations; Senator Elizabeth Warren is silenced for impugning a fellow senator in the debate over Jeff Sessions’ AG nomination; controversy over President Trump’s statement that the U.S. murder rate is the highest it’s been in 47 years; Yemen requiring permission for further strikes against Islamic State targets after its claim that civilians were killed in the recent U.S. raid; the Kremlin’s demand for an apology from FOX News after Bill O’Reilly called Vladimir Putin a killer during his Sunday Trump interview; and the administration’s and GOP’s plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WFTL’s Rich Stevens Visited by an ‘Angel.’ Pictured above is WFTL, West Palm Beach late morning host Rich Stevens sitting in the studio with “Charlie’s Angels” star Cheryl Ladd. The actress and 1970s icon made a rare, in-studio appearance with Stevens. The two talked about her work on the classic TV program, golfing with O.J. Simpson and her being on the “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, among other things.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Program director Mike Preston is exiting Entercom’s country KKWF, Seattle “100.7 The Wolf” and rhythmic oldies KHTP “HOT 103.7” to pursue his next radio gig. Preston says that, after seven years with the company in Seattle, he’s ready to move on. “I’m very proud of what my teams have accomplished, making ‘The Wolf’ the top country brand in the market and putting our newest brand, ‘HOT 103.7,’ on the map in a big way. I’m grateful to Jack Hutchison, Dave Richards, Pat Paxton, and Mike Moore for the opportunity to put country ‘under my belt’ and to pioneer the classic hip hop and R&B format.” Entercom Seattle VP of programming Dave Richards will be in charge of the stations as a successor to Preston is sought…..The Adams Radio Group cluster in Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland has a new vice president and general manager. Paul Burton joins the company from the crosstown iHeartMedia cluster where he was vice president of sales. Adams CEO Ron Stone comments, “It is rare that you get an opportunity to partner with someone that literally can change your life. I have spent the past several months as the interim GM while searching for the right person to lead our organization in Delmarva. Paul is that person. His excitement and commitment to excellence is second to none.”…..Afternoon personality and assistant program director Todd Michaels exits Beasley Media Group’s country KCYE, Las Vegas “102.7 The Coyote” after two years with the station.
New Documentary About ‘70s Rock Band Gunhill Road Showcased at Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The early seventies NYC-based album rock band, Gunhill Road – best known for one big hit single ‘Back When My Hair Was Short” – got a lot of media attention a couple of years ago with the unexpected release of their reunion album “Every 40 Years.” Now a new documentary (also titled “Every 40 Years”) chronicling the group’s colorful story, spearheaded by the filmmaker son of one of the band’s members, had its world premiere Monday evening (2/6) as a special feature of the prestigious Santa Barbara International Film Festival. For 25 years, director Eric Goldrich knew close to nothing about his dad’s (Steve Goldrich) band Gunhill Road. A tribute concert to the band’s old manager and owner of the famous nightclub The Bitter End incited the band’s return to the stage. With the excitement of seeing his father play music with Gunhill Road again, Eric sought to document the performance. They were billed with Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary) that night, along with many other legendary musicians, but what the future held was unknown. Two years later, Gunhill Road reunited to record a brand new 19-track album, consisting of unrecorded songs that they had written in the ’70s and ’80s. Eric convinced co-director Benjamin Friedberg to join him on the unique journey of creating a documentary following the return of Gunhill Road. Through Eric and Ben’s discovery, they learned how much Gunhill Road meant to its fans, and how close they got to breaking out as successful artists. They were the only band ever managed by The Bitter End’s owner, Paul Colby, and Kenny Rogers produced their second album. They opened for some of the greatest acts in history, including George Carlin, Bette Midler, Soupy Sales, Jim Croce, Lily Tomlin, Poco, the Carpenters, and many more. As a band, one could say they failed. They’re even called a “One Hit Wonder.” Yet, in their 60’s, they came back to play together again 40 years after they broke up. A story of courage, doubt, regret, and liberation, the new film documentary “Every 40 Years” is described as being about chasing your dream down one more time. The band played a special concert for its fans at the nearby Santa Barbara club, The Red Piano, following the screening of the film. Eric Goldrich tell TALKERS that plans are in the works to showcase the documentary at other film festivals around the country and eventually find it a home on one of the cable or internet film channels. To view the trailer for the film, please click here.
Gunhill Road stopped by heritage rocker KTYD-FM, Santa Barbara to do an interview on the station’s morning show in conjunction with the premiere of their documentary at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Pictured (back row l-r): Gunhill Road members Steve Goldrich and Paul Reich, and KTYD-FM morning co-hosts Lin Aubuchon and David Perry. (Front row): Gunhill Road member Glenn Leopold.
Report: Laura Ingraham Considering Run for Virginia Senate Seat. According to a report in the Washington Examiner, talk show host – and Trump adviser – Laura Ingraham is seriously debating whether to throw her hat into the ring for a run for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat currently held by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, Tim Kaine. The Examiner’s Paul Bedard writes that “several party insiders have approached the media giant to run and that she is considering it. In preparation for a bid, her business partner, Peter Anthony, has begun buying website domains for Ingraham to use should she decide to move forward. It includes: ingrahamsenate.net, ingrahamsenate.com, ingrahamforvirginia.com and ingraham2018.com.” The story also notes that Virginia U.S. Representatives Barbara Comstock and Dave Brat – both Republicans – are considering challenging Kaine. See the Examiner story here.
iHeartMedia Execs Nab Big Bonuses. These bonuses – approved last Tuesday by the iHeartMedia board of directors – are retention bonuses. Here’s what the board approved: chairman and CEO Bob Pittman gets $1.75 million; COO and CFO Rich Bressler gets the same; and SVP of corporate finance Steven Macri is awarded $750,000. Because they are retention bonuses, the three must remain employed by the company for two years after the effective date of January 12, 2017 or they must repay 100% of the after-tax value of the bonus. If either is terminated without cause, leaves for a “good reason,” or due to death or disability before the first anniversary of the effective date, they must pay back 50% of the after-tax value. Additionally, the board of directors approved the 2017 Key Employee Incentive Plan in which Pittman and Bressler can earn bonuses of up to $7,000,000 and $3,000,000 respectively during the year for hitting quarterly performance goals set by the compensation committee of the board of directors.
Cumulus Media’s Mary Berner Pockets $1 Million-plus Bonus. Unlike the retention bonuses paid to iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman and others (see story above), this payment to Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner is a “one-time discretionary cash incentive compensation award” of $1,087,500 for “her exceptional efforts and contributions during 2016, both individually and as a member of the management leadership team, in the initial phase of the company’s operational turnaround plan and ongoing operational and financial restructuring.” The board of directors notes that this award is in lieu of any award she may have received under its annual incentive plan for 2016.
Charlie Sykes to Take Part in Public Radio Show. The Milwaukee radio icon retired from E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of 2016 after a 23-year career with the news/talk station. Now, Charlie Sykes is part of a new, national call-in talk show being produced in what is a cooperative venture by WNYC, New York, Minnesota Public Radio and The Economist. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes will be one of four co-hosts of the program titled, “Indivisible.” The other hosts are: WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, The Nation features editor Kai Wright, and MPR’s personality Kerri Miller. Sykes will not be heard on the radio in his home market because his non-compete prevents local pubcaster WUWM from airing the show. Under the terms of Sykes’ deal with WTMJ, any radio show on which Sykes appears during the term of the non-compete must air on WTMJ. The station asked to air the new show but NPR is not giving consent.
Will Talk Show Hosts Get Access to Trump Press Conferences? On Sunday (1/15), Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer told FOX News that the president-elect is considering moving press briefings to a larger location due to “off-the-charts” interest in the new administration. Spicer said, “There’s a lot of talk radio and bloggers and people that can’t fit in right now and maybe don’t have a permanency because they’re not part of the Washington elite media, but to allow them an opportunity to ask the press secretary or the president a question is a positive thing. It’s more democratic.” The Brady press room (pictured) in the West Wing only holds 49 people. However, the White House Correspondents’ Association is concerned about the move, in part because it fears the media could be moved from the press work space behind the Brady press room, according to a statement from WHCA president Jeff Mason. He says that space is important because it is close to West Wing staffers whom the press rely on for news. Spicer says he’ll work with the WHCA on any changes.
Trump Inauguration Protests, ObamaCare Replacement Plans, U.S.-Russia Relations, Orlando Cop Killer Search, Davos Economic Forum, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ringling Brothers Circus to Close, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The planned protests and Democratic members of Congress planning to skip Donald Trump’s Inauguration on Friday; the GOP’s plans to replace the Affordable Care Act; the relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the United States with Trump set to take office; the search for the man police believe killed Orlando police officer Debra Clayton; this week’s meeting of world leaders at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland; today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; Ringling Brothers’ decision to shutter the 146-year-old circus; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates to its roster, including: WNIX-AM/FM, Greeneville, Mississippi; KLKS-FM, Brainerd, Minnesota; KHMO-AM, Hannibal, Missouri; and WBNW, Concord/Boston…..Teenage conservative talk show host Caiden Cowger announces his show is added to the program schedule at Kol Ami Havurah-owned WDUQ-LPFM, Benwood, West Virginia “Beautiful Music 99.1.” This is the fourth affiliate station for Cowger’s program. The one-hour show airs evenings at 9:00 pm…..In the San Antonio market, Cox Media Group drops the sports talk programming on KONO-AM after three years as a CBS Sports Radio affiliate and is now airing an oldies format.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Diego, air personality Sam Bass moves from middays to weekends on hot AC KYXY for personal reasons. Moving into his slot on the CBS RADIO station is Joe Rosati, who slides over from sister CHR KEGY “Energy 103.7.” Program director Chris Patyk promotes evening personality Alexia Gloria to middays on KEGY to fill Rosati’s old slot…..There are a few promotions to report at the Nashville operations of Midwest Communications. First, Barbara Bridges – currently adult contemporary WJXA brand manager – is upped to operations manager for the entire cluster. Second, afternoon drive host Joe Breezy is adding brand manager duties to his work at CHR WNFN “i106.7.” Finally, WNFN midday personality Butter Harper takes on assistant brand manager responsibilities for the station…..Chad Valentine exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100” as the result of his position being eliminated. He was assistant program director and music director there…..Alexa Smith exits her role as program director at Sierra H Broadcasting’s hip hop KNRJ, Cordes Lakes, Arizona and rhythmic oldies KAJM, Camp Verde, Arizona after three months in the position. Prior to that, she’d been APD at CBS RADIO’s rhythmic AC KTWV, Los Angeles “94.7 The Wave.”
Jim Bohannon and Westwood One Sign New Pact. The overnight Jim Bohannon show is heard on more than 250 affiliate stations across the country via Westwood One. Today, the company reports that it has signed Bohannon to a new multi-year contract to continue hosting the show beyond its current 33rd year. As part of this new deal, Westwood One is launching a new Jim Bohannon podcast and “Best of Bohannon” program, already slated to air on affiliates including: WLS-AM, Chicago; WBAP-AM, Dallas; KXL-FM, Portland; WTMJ, Milwaukee; and more. Bohannon comments, “I’m delighted and honored to continue working with Westwood One. It’s especially gratifying now that the new year finds me reaching even more stations with the weekly ‘Best of Bohannon’ broadcast. Here’s to a fantastic 2017!” ON a note unrelated to the new contract, Jim Bohannon has been selected to be one of the live crowd announcers for the Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC on January 20. He will be introducing and describing the participating organizations to the throngs gathered along his location on Pennsylvania Avenue.
E.W. Scripps Hires Schenek to Lead Digital Content at Milwaukee Duo. Most recently, Dan Schenek has been working for NBCUniversal’s “Access Hollywood” as a digital producer. He’ll leave Los Angeles for Milwaukee to take on the digital content director position for Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI. He’s being charged with expanding the stations’ digital products, including growing wtmj.com, kticountry.com and the stations’ social media accounts. In addition, he’ll support the rapidly growing demand for video and podcasts. Scripps Milwaukee vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “Dan is an experienced digital leader that will take us beyond typical coverage and lead us to places that expand the overall content experience – the way our consumers expect it today.” During his career, Schenek has also worked with CNN/HLN’s “Dr. Drew” show, with MTV in New York and CBS RADIO in Los Angeles.
Raback Named to Lead Pennsylvania Cluster for Cumulus Media. The York-Lancaster-Reading, Pennsylvania operations of Cumulus Media has a new vice president/market manager as 17-year radio sales exec Matt Raback is promoted to the position from his VP/sales post. The six-station cluster includes news/talk WSBA, York; sports talk WGLD, York; classic hits WSOX, York; adult contemporary WARM, York; country WIOV-FM, Lancaster; and sports talk WIOV-AM, Lancaster. York-Lancaster-Reading, PA. Cumulus Pennsylvania RVP Ron Giovanniello states, “We are thrilled to recognize Matt’s talent with this opportunity to lead our terrific Cumulus team in York-Lancaster-Reading. I’m very excited about the energy, enthusiasm and ideas that Matt will bring to our business in this great market and I’m looking forward to his contributions.”
Russian Hacking Allegations/Compromising Trump Material, Jeff Sessions Confirmation Hearings, Meryl Streep Golden Globes Speech, Obama’s Farewell Speech, Dylann Roof Sentenced to Death, Clemson Upsets Alabama for NCAA Football Title, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/10). The ongoing allegations that Russia is involved in affecting the U.S. political system via hacking of the DNC emails and the new report published alleging that Russia has proof of compromising sexual behavior by President-Elect Donald Trump; the protests against attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions and yesterday’s hearings; the fallout from Meryl Streep’s anti-Trump Golden Globes speech; President Obama’s Tuesday evening farewell speech; Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof is sentenced to death for the murders of nine victims; Clemson’s upset of Alabama in Monday’s NCAA Football Championship game; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool News Gig in Buffalo. WBEN, Buffalo program director Tim Wenger alerts TALKERS magazine that the Entercom news/talk station has a rare full-time news opening. Wenger says, “We’re seeking the next great radio news rock star who can make a difference on the air, be aggressive on the street and be a multi-media news operative in the Buffalo market. WBEN is THE news leader in the market and operates a full morning news and information show and seven-day newsroom.” For more information and to apply, click here.
Workhouse Media and ICM Partners Form Strategic Partnership. Talent and literary agency, ICM Partners, announced entering into a strategic partnership with Workhouse Media, a leading boutique agency representing professional voices of radio and audio broadcasting. Led by Paul B. Anderson and offering the services of noted radio talent agent/executive John McConnell, Workhouse Media represents some of the most recognizable personalities in radio across many formats, including syndicated personalities in talk, country, urban, rock, and CHR. ICM Partners, a full-service talent agency, will represent clients of Workhouse Media as content creators and performers in the areas of film, television, publishing, touring, branding, and digital entertainment, while Workhouse Media will represent the interests of ICM Partners’ clients wishing to extend their reach in radio. “We have worked collaboratively and successfully with ICM over the past couple years on a number of premium talent and content deals and very much look forward to having our teams work even more closely together to optimize our talent brands and cross-platform opportunities,” Workhouse principal Paul B. Anderson tells TALKERS. “Workhouse Media represents many of the best storytellers in broadcasting,” states ICM managing partner Chris Silbermann. “We are proud to partner with Paul and his team to help our shared clients reach new audiences with premium content.”
Odds & Sods. Kansas City sports talk personality Danny Parkins is exiting Entercom’s KCSP after six-plus years with the station to take a yet-to-be-announced gig outside of KC. Parkins co-hosts “The Drive” with Harrison Carrington in afternoons and the Kansas City Star reports that Carrington will continue to host the show with producer Ben Heisler…..After learning of a series of car break-ins perpetrated against Gwinnett and Forsyth County firefighters while they were out on call, WSB-AM, Atlanta talk show host Mark Arum solicited listeners to his show to donate to a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the personal items stolen. Initially, the goal was $1,000, but after hitting that mark, Arum raised it to $2,000. Arum states, “I couldn’t believe the story when I heard it over the weekend. Who would steal from people that risk their lives every day? I know first responders don’t make a lot of money, so I wanted to help them out and try to replace the items that were stolen.”…..ESPN officially announces the move of the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” from sports talk WEPN-FM to Spanish sports WEPN-AM in New York City. The move happens on January 17. Le Batard says, “We are glad New York has embraced our particular brand of nonsense. We appreciate the opportunity to continue making fun of Jets fans now on 1050 AM. Being on the ESPN Deportes station makes sense for us because Stugotz still hasn’t learned how to speak English.”…..Talk WZZR, West Palm Beach “Real Radio 94.3” recently partnered with Tito’s Handmade Vodka for the second annual “Touchdowns for Charity” fundraiser that involved Tito’s pledging to donate $350 to Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities for each touchdown pass scored by the Miami Dolphins during the football season. The team’s 27 TDs resulted in a $10,000 donation. WZZR personality The Greek promoted Tito’s commitment on-air throughout the program during the season on his midday show, “The Penthouse.”…..ABC Radio announces the debut of a new podcast hosted by ABC News chief business, economics and technology correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, titled “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis,” focused on leading women in a variety of industries. Each week Jarvis will speak with women in Hollywood, business, technology, fashion, comedy, food, sports and startups about how they built their empire and their wide-range of accomplishments.
Gracie Awards Deadline Extended. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is announcing it has extended the call for entries for the 42nd annual Gracie Awards to January 19, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET in response to high requests for extensions. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair Kristen Welch says, “Now is a time, more than ever before, where we need to celebrate women for their exceptional work and contributions, especially in the media industry.” The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, cable and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local and non-commercial markets as well as among students. The AWMF will accept all entries submitted after the originally published deadline of January 12 through January 19 with an additional $50 late fee. Honorees will be announced in mid- to late-March. The Gracies are the largest fundraising event by the AWM Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AWM that supports educational programs, charitable activities and scholarships to benefit women in the media.
MIW Radio Group Mentoring Program Application Deadline Extended. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio group is extending the application window for the 2017 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program through next Wednesday, January 18. This experience pairs up-and-coming women who currently work in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media. MIW Radio Group’s Mentoring Committee chair Lindsay Cerajewski comments, “This provides a wonderful opportunity for mentees to gain valuable insight, knowledge and access to some of the most influential women in radio.” A total of four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry – within the sales, marketing, programming and digital disciplines – will be selected for the 2017 program. To apply, click here.
Luvv Joins Hip Hop WRWM, Indy. Moving west along I-70 is Justin Luvv, who leaves Radio One’s Columbus, Ohio cluster where he was an air personality, imaging coordinator and mix DJ for hip hop WCKX “Power 107.5 and its sister urban outlet WBMO “Boom 106.3” to join Cumulus Media in Indianapolis to serve as afternoon jock and imaging director for hip hop WRWM “93.9 The Beat.” WRWM program director Jay Michaels comments, “Justin’s on-air skills and amazing imaging expertise make him stand out from the crowd. I’m really excited to have him on board as we take ‘93.9 The Beat’ full throttle into 2017!”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The “Full Metal Jackie” show – syndicated by Envision Networks – is being added to the program schedule at Alpha Media’s KMKO-FM, Mankato, Minnesota. The Jackie Kajzer-hosted metal show will air Sunday’s at 10:00 pm CT…..Programmer Garett Michaels is exercising his option to leave rock KFMB-FM, San Diego where he’s been PD and afternoon host as the joint operating agreement between Midwest Television and Local Media San Diego ends. He’ll remain in a consultant capacity…..The syndicated Walton & Johnson morning show is finding a new home at Townsquare Media’s rock KFTE, LaFayette, Louisiana “Planet Radio 105.1.” It had been heard on Guaranty Broadcasting’s classic rock WDGL, Baton Rouge. Guaranty is suing the show on the grounds that it was not given the notice required by the contract…..Tamara Grant joins the Superadio-syndicated Michael Baisden show as senior producer.
Foo Fighters Visit ‘Jonesy’s Juke Box.’ KLOS, Los Angeles midday host Steve Jones (second from right) poses for a photo in the studio where he hosts “Jonesy’s Juke Box” from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm each day. Joining him on the occasion of the release of his memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales from A Sex Pistol (Da Capo 2017), are (from l-r) former Nirvana guitarist Pat Smear, and Foo Fighters members Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl.
WJR, Detroit Brings Motor City Broadcast Pro Guy Gordon Aboard for New Talk Show. Longtime market television journalist Guy Gordon will debut a new talk show on Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm beginning January 3. Cumulus notes that Gordon has been a fixture on Detroit television news for more than 30 years and was recognized with two Emmy Awards for Best Anchor and six Emmy Awards for Best Writing, Reporting, and Documentary. Cumulus Detroit VP/market manager Tom O’Brien states, “We are thrilled to have a media professional of Guy’s caliber join the WJR team and to kick off 2017 with this vibrant new program. Guy has covered many of the biggest stories affecting Metro Detroit and its residents over the past three decades and has experienced the triumphs and challenges of our great city from a truly unique perspective and vantage point. WJR listeners will be captivated by what is sure to be a lively and provocative two hours with Guy and his guests each weekday afternoon.” Gordon’s show replaces “The Savage Nation” with Michael Savage.
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Year Lineup. With the New Year come changes at E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee. With the retirement from radio of longtime WTMJ personality Charlie Sykes, the station moves midday personality Jeff Wagner to the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon daypart. Hosting the “WTMJ Today” show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on an interim basis will be WTMJ alumnus John Jagler, who is now serving as a Representative for Wisconsin’s 37th State Assembly District. Previously, Jagler co-hosted “Wisconsin’s Morning News” with Gene Mueller until 2010. Jagler will work on air with WTMJ’s Erik Bilstad.
‘Brock & Salk’ Show to Air on Alpha Media’s KXTG-AM, Portland. The KIRO-AM, Seattle-based sports talk show “Brock & Salk” – featuring Brock Huard and Mike Salk – is branching out to another Northwest market as the show begins a run on Alpha Media’s Portland sports talker KXTG-AM “750/102.9 The Game,” effective Monday, January 2. The show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and lead into KXTG’s “The Bald-Faced Truth with John Canzano.” Dave Pridemore, who manages KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” for owner Bonneville International, comments, “We are excited to expand our Seattle Sports Radio Network into the greater Portland area.”
Cumulus Pays Bonuses to Execs John Abbot and Richard Denning. Two of Cumulus Media’s executives have received one-time bonuses, according to a filing with the SEC. The Cumulus board of directors approved one-time, discretionary bonuses for EVP, treasurer and CFO John Abbot ($421875) and SVP and secretary and general counsel Richard Denning ($165,000). The filing notes that the bonuses are for “exceptional efforts and contributions made by those executive officers during 2016, both individually and as members of the management leadership team, in the initial phase of the company’s operational turnaround plan and ongoing operational and financial restructuring.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Round Two of December 2016 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of December 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The December 2016 survey period covered November 3-30. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
‘Dogma Debate’ Launches on PodcastOne. The popular podcast produced by author and media figure David Smalley is joining the offerings at PodcastOne. “Dogma Debate” is described by Smalley as “fast-paced with a liberal slant…featuring discussion and debate on topics like atheism, science, politics and civil rights” and “priding itself on respectful debates, the show will make you laugh, cry and, most importantly, think, as you dive into taboo territory with Smalley and his guests each week.” Smalley comments, “For years, I’ve been aware of the quality and growth Norm Pattiz delivers, so I’m very excited about the future possibilities ‘Dogma Debate’ can have with PodcastOne.”
‘The Union Edge’ Talk Show Partners with the League of Women Voters. The nationally syndicated labor-oriented radio talk show “The Union Edge” announces a new partnership with the League of Women Voters that will mean League leaders will participating in regular radio segments to discuss voting rights, public policy issues and advocacy. Program host Charles Showalter says, “We are excited to partner with the League of Women Voters for their strong commitment to voter engagement, voter protection and education. Union members are Democrats, Republicans and Independents; all should have the unimpeded chance to vote their conscience. As a non-partisan organization, the League always brings a fresh perspective on the critical issues facing working people across the country.”
Talk Personality Rob Carson Building Digital Platform. Since recently exiting Cumulus Media’s KCMO, Kansas City, radio personality Rob Carson has been building his own digital platform for his various projects based out of his new home-based broadcast studio. He tells TALKERS that in addition to his digital content, he’s doing talk radio fill-in work (he’ll be on WTMJ, Milwaukee and WLS-AM, Chicago next week). “I now have a fully functional broadcast studio in my home. Since leaving KCMO a month ago, I was able to crowd-fund a new studio, complete with a Comrex Bric II. I have built a podcast and am working on a one-stop website for my podcasts, syndicated comedy, social media and dozens of comedy/lifestyle/cooking videos. As things grow, I’ve already started to talk to food processors and distributors about food products of my design to sell in stores and over the air.” Check out some of his cooking videos here.
Odds & Sods. January’s East-West Shrine Game – the nation’s longest-running college all-star football game – is airing on more than 100 stations via SB Nation Radio. Program director and COO Craig Larson states, “It’s a great honor to air the East-West Shrine game on SB Nation Radio. I have long supported the amazing work of Shriners Hospitals. This is a wonderful opportunity to spotlight many outstanding student-athletes and a tremendous organization.”…..One of the busiest talk radio hosts in America is at it again. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway will host that show, his regular morning show on WMT, Cedar Rapids as well as subbing in morning drive on iHeartMedia sister station WFLF, Orlando today (12/21) through Friday…..The GCN nationally syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs show is added to the program schedule at D.J. Broadcasting’s WKDE, Altavista, Virginia…..Sports media personalities Woody Paige and Jay Mariotti are launching a daily, 30-minute podcast titled, “Unmuted: The Daily Sports Podcast.” Paige and Mariotti are well known for their work on ESPN’s “Around The Horn” program.
Trump Transition, Obama Drilling Ban, Berlin Terror Attack, Russian Diplomat Assassination Aftermath, U.S. Embassy in Israel Move, Pulse Victims’ Families Sue Social Media, and NFL Pro Bowl Players Announced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). The transition of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees; President Obama issues order banning drilling in Arctic and Atlantic Oceans; the search for the person responsible for the deadly truck attack in Berlin; the assassination of Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov in Ankara and its effect on international relations; controversy over the Trump plan to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; the planned suit against Facebook, Twitter and Google by families of the victims of The Pulse nightclub massacre; and the announcement of the NFL’s 2016 Pro Bowl players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano to Host Late Mornings at WLS-AM, Chicago. A little more than a week after the Jonathon Brandmeier show was cancelled, Cumulus Media announces that it is bringing well-known Windy City broadcasters Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano aboard to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on WLS-AM. The husband-and-wife team most recently worked on radio at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, handling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Cumulus Chicago VP/market manager Peter Bowen states, “Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano are deeply rooted in Chicago and are well known to the community. With their addition, WLS is more local and more relevant to Chicago listeners and advertisers.” At the same time, the station announces its new program lineup starting in January: Big John and Ray, 6:00 am to 10:00 am; Sirott and Murciano, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Rush Limbaugh, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Steve Dahl, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Mark Levin, 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. The host of the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show is still to-be-announced.
Aircheck D.I.Y. Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today that, due to numerous changes in the radio business, talk radio personalities don’t huddle for aircheck meetings with program directors like they used to. Because of this, talk hosts are often missing a valuable tool for improvement. If you’re a young programmer with some talk talent to coach, or a music PD who isn’t used to coaching talk talent, Cooke offers this handy primer on airchecking talk radio personalities. Read more here.
Wainwright: Make it Part of the Show. WSYR, Syracuse morning show host Mark Wainwright tells TALKERS magazine that after viewing a recent Talkers TV video from consultant Holland Cooke titled, “Making Money with Endorsement Spots,” he felt compelled to share some of his experiences and strategies for endorsement spots. Wainwright says his overarching belief about the effectiveness of live endorsements is that they must become part of the show in order to achieve their maximum effect. Read more here.
WMAL, Washington’s Larry O’Connor Joins The Weekly Standard. In a memo to the staff, The Weekly Standard editor-in-chief Steve Hayes announces that WMAL, Washington personality Larry O’ Connor is joining the organization as online editor. Hayes calls O’Connor’s arrival at TWS “part of an aggressive expansion of the TWS online presence.” Hayes goes on to say, “As you might expect, Larry has a very good ear for the kinds of issues that resonate with grassroots conservatives and we’re eager for his input as we continue to improve and expand the digital side of the magazine.” His previous work in digital media includes time at Hotair.com and Independent Journal Review. Earlier this fall, it was announced that O’Connor is leaving the “Mornings on the Mall” AM drive show to take over the afternoon drive daypart (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm).
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Pens NYT Op-Ed Piece ‘Where the Right Went Wrong.’ Longtime Milwaukee conservative talk personality Charlie Sykes is stepping down from his role as a talk show host on E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of this month. It’s no secret in the industry that Sykes – along with other Wisconsin talk radio hosts – has been a vocal opponent of President-Elect Donald Trump. In an opinion piece published in The New York Times over the weekend, Sykes lays out why he believes Trump won the election, how the conservative media helped him win and, as the title implies, where he thinks the conservative movement has gone wrong. Read it here.
John Ziegler Ends Syndicated Sunday Night Radio Talk Show. Conservative media personality John Ziegler announces he’s ending the live Sunday night broadcasts of his talk show, originally called the “John & Leah Show” that featured co-host Leah Brandon for most of its run (though he hopes to continue it as a podcast). Ziegler, a strong opponent of President-Elect Donald Trump, gives shared credit for his decision to shutter the show to Trump’s ascension to the Oval Office, some bad business moves for which he accepts the blame, and the state of the talk radio business. Ziegler also writes for Mediaite and he lays out his decision for leaving AM/FM radio in a piece in the publication here.
Odds & Sods. News/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne – with the help of two local co-sponsors – helped raise $343,808 for Community Harvest Food Bank and Super Shot during its recent two-day radiothon. Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “The generosity was overwhelming this year.” The Penny Pitch Radiothon raised $171,094 but Brigadoon Fitness and King of Carts matched that to double the total raised. Community Harvest Food Bank’s Hope for Heroes program focuses on providing groceries at no cost to veterans and military families in need. Super Shot helps provide vaccinations for low-income, uninsured, under-insured and Medicaid eligible people. The WOWO staff is pictured at right around the phone bank…..The Salem Media Group Minneapolis cluster – news/talk WWTC “AM 1280 The Patriot,” Christian talk KKMS “AM 980 The Mission,” business talk KYCR “Business Radio 1440,” talk KDIZ “Wellness Radio 1570,” and stream theFishTwinCities.com are presenting a “Crisis & Security Summit” on Thursday, January 26. It’s a free, informational event that will feature experts discussing topics such as IT security, personal safety, community preparedness, and child protection. Salem Minneapolis GM Nic Anderson comments, “In this day and age, we must plan ahead, be informed, and ensure personal and community safety from all angles. We at Salem feel a sense of duty to our local churches and schools.”
Trump Cabinet Nominations, Today’s Electoral College Vote, Allegations of Russian Hacking, ‘Fake News’ Controversy, China Nabs U.S. Submersible Drone, Rogue One Opening Weekend, Cold Snap, and NFL Action Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The transitioning of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominees for cabinet posts; today’s electoral college vote and the numerous pleas from celebrities to not vote for Trump; the allegations that Russia is responsible for hacking the DNC’s servers in order to influence the election; the hot topic of “fake news” and its role in politics; China’s intercepting of a U.S. drone submarine and tensions between China and the U.S. over China’s military build-up in the South China Sea; the opening weekend of the new Star Wars film Rogue One; the bitter cold weather affecting parts of the country; and National Football League action were some of the top stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cumulus Shareholders Approve Reverse Stock Split. The vote among Cumulus Media shareholders took place today and becomes effective at 5:00 pm ET. This move consists of a 1-for-8 reverse split – eight shares of the company’s Class A common stock will be converted into one share – to increase the price of each share. There will be no fractional shares issued; they will be rounded up to whole shares. This obviously results in a reduction of the number of authorized shares of common stock. Cumulus Media’s stock has been trading for less than $ 0.75 per share for most of the past year.
Charlie Sykes’ Exit from WTMJ, Milwaukee Presents Options for New Show. In a piece published in the Milwaukee Business Journal, WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer says that the station will not be limiting its search for a replacement for talk host Charlie Sykes to a “political host.” Sykes’ national profile has grown over the last year due to his refusal to support the candidacy of Donald Trump for president. As a conservative media icon in the state – Sykes founded the conservative media site RightWisconsin.com – his approach to his radio program has also been politically focused. Langmyer has already announced that Jeff Wagner’s program will move into the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon slot currently occupied by Sykes, leaving the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart the one to be filled. Referring to the station’s programming philosophy, Langmyer says, “Over the last couple of years, (we have) focused on a more inclusive feel. We have definitely broadened our scope and appeal to what WTMJ means to the community overall.” You can read the entire piece here.
Evening Personality Joe DeCamara Exits WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. Both Crossing Broad and Philly.com are reporting that evening sports talk host Joe DeCamara has exited Greater Media’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” where he’s been host of the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm show since April of 2015. DeCamara first joined the station in 2005. WPEN-FM, along with the other Greater Media signals in Philly, is in the process of being acquired by Beasley Broadcast Group. Just last month, Jon Marks exited the WPEN-FM morning program hosted by Anthony Gargano. Three other staffers were let go at the time the Greater Media-Beasley deal was announced. There’s no word from Greater Media about its plans for replacing DeCamara. Staffer Matt Lombardo hosted the show last night (10/11).
William O’Shaughnessy Goes to Bat for Billy Bush. New York broadcaster William O’Shaughnessy pens an opinion piece addressing the character of embattled NBC-TV personality Billy Bush. O’Shaughnessy says, in so many words, what a shame it would be for Bush to lose his position with NBC due do his role in the Donald Trump hot-mic case that’s plaguing the Republican nominee. Read it here.
New Episode of International Talk Show ‘London Calling with Graham Mack’ Posted Today. Episode 4 of the exciting new TalkersRadio weekly program “London Calling” is posted today (10/12). The experimental show that swaps news, views and information between the US and Great Britain, hosted by award-winning English talk host Graham Mack, features a conversation with an icon of British broadcasting who happens to be an American, Paul Gambaccini. Mack talks about a possible fist fight in the European Parliament and he hears from a listener named Linda Lee King in California who discovered the show via an interview Mack did on Chicago radio, plus Michael Harrison checks in from Massachusetts to discuss Brexit. To hear the show in its entirety please go directly to TalkersRadio by clicking here.
Odds & Sods. At iHeartMedia’s Tampa sports talker WDAE, the local morning drive program co-hosted by Tampa Bay Times writers Rick Stroud and Tom Jones is cancelled in favor of ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show…..WTMJ, Milwaukee is once again producing a holiday radio show. This year, the Scripps-owned station is doing “It’s a Wonderful Life,” featuring radio personalities Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner, Gene Mueller, Greg Matzek, Wayne Larrivee and a cast of other WTMJ hosts and local voices. It will take place live at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall on November 29 and be replayed on the radio throughout the holiday season.
The Presidential Race/Debate and Trump Hot-Mic Aftermath, Clinton Wikileaks Docs, Syria Civil War/Russian Military Involvement, Hurricane Matthew Destruction, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 Crisis, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The presidential race, including the Sunday evening debate and the “Access Hollywood” hot-mic issue; the Wikileaks release of revealing emails between Hillary Clinton and John Podesta; the civil conflict in Syria and the Russian military’s role in recent deadly attacks on civilians; the destruction in the Carolinas from Hurricane Matthew; the problems facing Samsung due to the exploding Galaxy Note 7 phone; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Ramsey Hosts Smart Conference in Atlanta. Syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey hosted a daylong “Smart Conference” in Atlanta this past Saturday (10/8) at North Point Community Church. Promoting the event was Ramsey’s Atlanta affiliate, iHeartMedia talker WGST. “These events certainly increase tune-in and listenership as we lean into them,” comments iHeartMedia Atlanta region president Justin Schaflander. “Far more importantly, they truly impact the lives of our listeners as it helps them find inspiration and answers on everything from finances to parenting and just life in general. The events create a deeper relationship between our listeners and Dave’s team, which in turn, create a far more beneficial connection between our sponsors and clients as they interact with Dave’s audience. It is a win on all fronts.” Along with Ramsey were Chris Brown, Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Inky Johnson, Dr. Meg Meeker, Anthony O’Neal, and Dr. Les Parrott. Attendees were provided information on how to win with money; strengthen their marriages; build parenting skills; and excel in their careers.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2016 PPM survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of Major League Baseball flagships. In this special feature report, you will find charts listing stations by format and (6+) AHQ share; ratings fluctuations from August 2016 to September 2016; ratings comparisons from September 2015 to September 2016; how MLB key stations ranked in their respective markets; and how they did by league/division. See it all here.
Hughes’ Howard University Honor. In a ceremony that will take place one week from this Sunday (10/23), Howard University‘s School of Communications will be renamed the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, as a tribute to Radio One‘s founder and chairperson. The announcement comes after a multi-million dollar gift to the Washington, DC school from Hughes’ son, Radio One president and chief executive officer Alfred C. Liggins III. Howard University president Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick comments, “The Howard community is thrilled that Mr. Liggins has chosen to honor his mother in this manner for her pioneering work in the field of communications. The gift will have a transformational impact on the school’s commitment to serve the communications industry and as a high-level producer of diverse media specialists.”
Cox Media Group Tampa Boosts Caldwell to Digital Sales Manager. Two-year Cox Media Group Tampa digital media strategist Megan Caldwell is promoted to digital sales manager for the company’s six-station cluster. Vice president and market manager Keith Lawless remarks, “Megan knows the digital space, knows our marketing partners, and knows what it takes to compete and win in this competitive, fast moving space.” Director of sales Jason Meder comments, “We are so excited to have Megan lead our digital sales efforts in Tampa. With a background in digital content, Megan brings unique experience to this role. Her knowledge – combined with her ability to create solutions for advertisers – is an amazing resource for Cox Media Group Tampa.” Caldwell adds, “I am beyond excited to be leading our team in digital. As the digital sales manager, I will be focused on driving initiatives that help us continue to build long-term relationships with our clients.” The 2012 University of Central Florida graduate previously spent two years as Cox Media Group Tampa’s digital producer and was social media manager for New Age Skincare. With their September 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, CMG Tampa consists of adult contemporary WDUV “Lite Favorites” (9.3, #1); WXGL “Classic Hits 107.3 The Eagle” (6.0, #3); adult contemporary WWRM “Magic 94-9” (5.3, #6); CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5” (4.7, #7); talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone” (2.3, #18); and alternative WSUN “97-X” (2.3, #18).
WHO’s “Puppy Jake Foundation” Raises $22,000. Last Friday’s (10/7) third annual “Puppy Jake Foundation” fundraiser brings in more than twice as much as the combined total of year one ($4,000) and year two ($6,000). WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talent Simon Conway staged a free sandwich giveaway in the parking lot of the iHeartMedia talker and – in two hours – collected more than $22,000 to benefit the charity, which acquires, raises and professionally trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans. Conway states he was “speechless for about two seconds. People drove long distances; handed over huge sums of money; and donated enough to acquire, train for two years and ultimately hand over for free a service dog for a wounded veteran.” Thus far this year, the charity has given 11 dogs to veterans; nine more canines will graduate the program next March.
NBC-TV Suspends Bush. By now, you know it was a rough weekend for former radio talent Billy Bush, who was believed to be groomed as a possible replacement for Matt Lauer on NBC-TV‘s “Today Show.” The network has suspended the ex-“Access Hollywood” host for his role in a 2005 video with Donald Trump that surfaced on Friday (10/7). Bush is heard laughing and encouraging the now Republican presidential nominee as they engaged in a vulgar conversation about women. The Washington Post published the tape of Trump, who is heard on a hot microphone boasting to Bush about kissing, groping, and having sex with women, saying that, “When you’re a star, they let you do anything – I don’t even wait.” At first, it seemed Bush was going to appear on “The Today Show” this morning (10/10) to apologize, but by last night, NBC decided he would not go on the show; instead, executive Noah Oppenheim issued the suspension. There is no immediate information about how long it will last. “Let me be clear,” Oppenheim writes in a staff memo, “There is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape. NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.” In a statement he released on Friday, Bush notes he is “embarrassed and ashamed” of his role in the 2005 video. “This happened 11 years ago. I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along.” His weeknight (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) “Billy Bush Show” debuted on April 14, 2008; Westwood One ended production of it in late-December 2014. Prior to that radio project, a mix of music and celebrity banter targeted to CHR and hot AC stations, Bush did wakeup duty on WWZZ “Z-104,” Washington, DC (now Radio One‘s WPRS “Praise 104.1”). In advance of starting his senior year at Maine’s Colby College, Bush scored a summer internship at Bill O’Shaughnessy’s WVOX in Westchester, New York.
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes to Retire from Radio in December. Longtime Milwaukee conservative voice Charlie Sykes announces that he will step away from his daily radio show and weekly television show at the end of this year after a 23-year stint hosting the mid-morning show on Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ. Sykes is also the host of “Sunday Insight” on WTMJ-TV “Today’s TMJ4.” The station will move current early afternoon host Jeff Wagner into the 8:30 to 12:00 noon slot and will seek a new host for the open 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Sykes states, “It has been both a pleasure and honor to work here. It has been an extraordinary privilege to be a part of the momentous changes that have taken place in Wisconsin over the last two decades. This is not a decision that I made either lightly or recently and it was not driven by this year’s political season. I made this decision more than a year ago for both professional and very personal reasons. My father died when he was 63, and I will turn 62 this year, so this year has always been circled on my calendar. Frankly, if I was ever going to make a move, it was now. While I am stepping back from my daily radio duties I intend to remain an active voice. I want to write more, travel more and pursue new opportunities.” In addition to his work for Scripps, Sykes created and served as the editor-in-chief of RightWisconsin.com. RightWisconsin.com is an online community that distributes the conservative perspective on the day’s news through a website, audio, video and a daily newsletter. WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer comments, “Charlie Sykes is one of the most talented broadcasters in America. His voice is not only an important one in Wisconsin, but across the country. His daily impact has influenced public thought for decades.”
Josh Innes Takes Over Afternoons at KBME, Houston. Sports talk personality Josh Innes returns to Houston to begin hosting the afternoon drive slot on iHeartMedia’s KBME “Sports Talk 790,” effective October 10. Innes worked at CBS RADIO’s KILT-AM from 2010 through 2013 – partnered with KILT’s Rich Lord for part of that time. Innes was brought by CBS to its Philadelphia sports talker WIP where he started in evenings and moved to afternoon drive. Innes exited WIP in August. Lord is now partnered with Sean Pendergast and Ted Johnson in afternoons on KILT and Innes will be competing with the trio. Innes tells the Houston Chronicle, “After I left Houston, I missed it. The opportunity at 790 is perfect. They said they want me to be who I am and to do what I do, and they will support what I do.” Innes replaces longtime station personality Charlie Pallilo on the KBME afternoon show. Read the Chronicle piece here.
iHeartMedia Creates New Southwest Division; Kevin LeGrett Named President. This realignment will create a new division within iHeartMedia – a Southwest Division that will include many regions formerly in its Central Division. Other former Central Division Regions will be moved into the West and Midwest/Southeast Divisions to better align them with the right resources and operating structure, according to the company. Kevin LeGrett, formerly iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles region president, becomes president of the new Southwest Division which now includes the Los Angeles, San Diego/Riverside, Arizona, Red River, Houston, Dallas and Austin/San Antonio regions. He will continue to report to Greg Ashlock, president of iHeartMedia West, and will also become a member of the company’s senior executive Operating Committee. In addition to overseeing the new Southwest Division, Ashlock will add the Denver, Western Great Lakes and Omaha regions to his existing West Division. The St. Louis, Nashville and Mid-South regions will move to the Midwest/Southeast Division under president Tom McConnell. The Pittsburgh region, formerly part of the Midwest/Southeast Division, will now move to the Northeast Division under president Hartley Adkins. Both LeGrett and Ashlock will continue to operate from iHeartMedia West’s headquarters in Los Angeles.
Opie Stays with SiriusXM Reluctantly. Tweeting about his new contract with SiriusXM, Gregg “Opie” Hughes announces he’s back on the air with the satcaster, but not in his morning drive slot. He’s now in afternoon drive. The New York Post reports Hughes said, “I did not want to leave mornings. Short-term deal. They wanted longer. I said, no [bleeping] way. We do a great show.” Hughes has been off the air since his previous contract expired and former partner Jim Norton has been co-hosting the morning show with producer Sam Roberts and they reportedly will remain in that slot. Hughes tells The Post he took a pay cut but remains the third-highest paid talent there.
Veteran Illustrates the Emotional Power of Talk Radio. During a discussion on SiriusXM’s Joe Madison show about PTSD and the suicide rate of U.S. veterans spurred by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s speech to a veterans group in Virginia, a retired Marine Corps serviceman called in to tell his personal story and how his life was saved by Madison’s program. Listen to the audio here.
The Amazing Kreskin Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the world’s most prolific performers and established pop cultural icons, The Amazing Kreskin, is interviewed on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Harrison and Kreskin dive into an in-depth conversation about how the power of persuasion can shape the public’s perception. According to Kreskin, there is no such thing as hypnosis, per se – but, rather, people can be made to believe things and take action by a charismatic personality who knows how to engage in psychological manipulation. He points out that the larger the number of people in an audience, crowd, mob or population, the easier it is for them to relinquish individual responsibility for their actions and follow the pack. This is a compelling conversation of significance to anyone involved in talk media – especially during election season. To hear this conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
The Presidential Race/Tuesday’s VP Debate, Syria Civil War/U.S.-Russia Tensions, Wikileaks Doc Drop Threat, Oregon H.S. White Privilege Survey, Kim Kardashian Robbery, Hurricane Matthew, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and this evening’s vice presidential debate; the U.S.’ cessation of bi-lateral talks with Syria and Russia over the besieged city of Aleppo and U.S.-Russia military tensions; Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s threat to begin dropping documents that could be harmful to Hillary Clinton’s campaign; the controversy over an Oregon high school class’ assignment that included a white privilege survey; the widely reported holdup of Kim Kardashian West and theft of $10 million in jewelry; Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti and heads toward the U.S.; the Major League Baseball playoffs begin; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Covering Tonight’s VP Debate. In advance of tonight’s Vice Presidential Debate at Longwood University in Virginia, Lou Dobbs (left) will be delivering his Salem Radio Network financial reports and co-anchoring FOX Business Network’s live coverage of the debate. After the debate, Dobbs will join Fox’s Neil Cavuto for live, post-debate coverage before filing his early-morning Market Preview for SRN affiliates. Pictured with Dobbs is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup.
Allen Shaw Talks Radio and More with Walter Sterling on WPHT. Pictured here outside the WPHT, Philadelphia studios are Allen Shaw (right), former president of ABC FM Radio and current vice chairman of Beasley Broadcasting, and WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Walter Sterling (left). During a discussion of the history of album rock radio, Allen fully credited TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison with creating the format name album oriented rock – AOR – and shared how to sell a new idea to a stubborn company.
‘99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh to Broadcast Town Hall on Race Relations in Sports. As part of its ongoing “Fan Town Hall” series, Capitol Broadcasting’s Raleigh-Durham sports talker WCMC “99.9 The Fan” is presenting a live multi-cast of a town hall focusing on the question, “Do today’s African-American athletes bear any responsibility to commenting on today’s social issues?” The event takes place on Tuesday (8/30) at 7:00 pm. It is being moderated by WRAL-TV anchor/reporter Gerald Owens and features the following seven panelists: sport business professor at UNC-Charlotte Dr. Deborah Stroman, former ECU head football coach Steve Logan, former UNC and NBA player George Lynch, former NC State and NFL player Brandan Bishop, “99.9 The Fan” afternoon drive host Adam Gold, and “Buzz Sports Radio” morning drive hosts Erroll Reese and Kevin McClendon. The social media desk and interaction with Twitter will be managed by 99.9 The Fan’s afternoon drive host Joe Ovies. The program will air with live video and audio on WRAL-TV 2, “99.9 The Fan,” WRALsportsfan.com and the WRALsportsfan app. Capitol Broadcasting sports radio operations manager, program director and executive producer for the Fan Town Hall series, Dennis Glasgow, says, “This discussion is long overdue and we have a diverse and opinionated panel to tackle this polarizing topic. I’m also excited that our viewers and listeners can participate with their feedback and commentary in real time via Twitter.”
Colin Cowherd’s Digital Platform Launches. The launch of FOX Sports Radio and FS1 personality Colin Cowherd’s new digital platform is a cooperative effort between Cowherd, Premiere Networks, and Chris Balfe’s Red Seat Ventures. It’s called TheHerdNow.com and serves as “the digital home for content created and curated by Colin Cowherd including bold opinion pieces, viral news stories, exclusive podcasts, and original video series. The new site also serves as a portal for fans to find stories covering the best moments and interviews from Cowherd’s radio show, as well as the daily podcast and streaming audio of ‘The Herd.’” Cowherd says, “I’ve chosen to work with the best people in the industry and the support I’ve received has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I feel incredibly lucky to launch this venture for fans to connect with my best content whenever and wherever they happen to be.”
Hogenson Tapped by RNC for Help with Radio During Campaign. Consultant and radio expert Scott Hogenson is working for the Republican National Committee to consult on and assist with radio for the campaign election cycle. Hogenson started working with the RNC today (8/29). He also served as radio director for the GOP convention in Cleveland this summer. He is president of the Washington, DC public affairs firm Hogenson Communications, LLC. He served in the George W. Bush Administration as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. During his career he has worked on three presidential campaigns as a senior member of the press office at the Republican National Committee.
New Sales Managers Named at Entercom Boston. Moving over from her sales manager position at Entercom’s news/talk WRKO to the same post at rock WAAF is Alison Harris. Assuming the open sales manager post at WRKO is Denise DiLuca, who returns to Entercom from her most recent gig with iHeartMedia as VP of sales in Providence. DiLuca worked in the business development department at Entercom Boston before joining iHeartMedia in 2012. Entercom New England VP/market manager Phil Zachary says both Harris and DiLuca embody the cluster’s inexorable work ethic. “Alison and Denise are natural sales leaders. Both are highly regarded in the marketplace for their uncompromising integrity, outstanding training skills, intensity of focus and ability to recruit the very best local sellers. I have no doubt our Boston cluster will continue to outperform the market with these proven professionals in key roles.”
Scott Robbins Easing Back into Radio on WMBD, Peoria a Year After Heart Attack. Before suffering a major heart attack a year ago, Scott Robbins and on-air partner Jamie Markley were co-hosting a three-hour talk show simulcast on Alpha Media’s WMBD, Peoria and KXL, Portland. But that major health issue put Robbins in the hospital for four months. The Peoria Journal Star, in a piece by Steve Tarter, reports that Robbins is back on the radio with a weekly show airing on WMBD Saturdays from 6:00 am to 8:00 am with co-host Joe Greenwood. After Robbins’ heart attack, David van Camp began filling in alongside Markley and was later named permanent co-host of the show.
Cumulus Ups Hach to VP, Digital for San Francisco. After serving as digital and integrated sales manager for Cumulus Media’s San Francisco and Minneapolis clusters, Justin Hach is promoted to vice president, digital for the company’s San Francisco station group that includes sports talk KNBR, triple A KFOG, classic rock KSAN, news/talk KGO, news/talk KSFO and Asian KSJO. Hach’s charge will be to lead a team that is responsible for all digital and social strategies, development, content and revenue. Vice president and market manager Justin Wittmayer says, “I’m really proud of the team that Justin has built and the way that they’re connecting our brands and fans. His content strategy is driving database growth, engagement, revenue and, most important, a better user/client experience.”
Nigel Burton Partners with Dan Sheldon on KPOJ, Portland for Mornings. Sports talk KPOJ-AM “Rip City Radio 620” adds Pacific Northwest sports analyst Nigel Burton to its morning show with current host Dan Sheldon. The new show is called “Rip City Mornings with Dan and Nigel,” airing weekdays from 6:00 am to -9:00 am. Burton is an analyst for Pac-12 Networks and a college football analyst for CSNNW. Newly appointed “Rip City Radio” program director Rich Moore says, “Adding Nigel Burton with his background and associations is very exciting and we are looking forward to partnering him up with Dan Sheldon in the morning.”
Jess Hanson to Head Up Horizon Broadcasting’s Central Oregon Station Group. Most recently with Townsquare Media’s Abilene, Texas operations, Jess Hanson heads north to join Horizon Broadcasting Group’s Central Oregon media properties as market manager/general sales manager. He’ll oversee the company’s five radio stations – classic hits KQAK-FM, hot AC KWPK “The PEAK 104.1,” AC KLTW “95.7 MY FM,” news/talk simulcast KBNW-AM/FM, and classic country KRCO – as well as the company’s digital assets and event productions. Horizon president and CEO Keith Shipman states, “I am pleased to hand over the day-to-day operations of our Central Oregon assets to an experienced and successful leader. Jess has demonstrated his passion for the radio industry over the past three decades and has built successful sales and programming teams throughout his career. He has a proven track record in broadcast, digital and event sales – all of which are key to our clients’ marketing plans.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Announces 2016 Right Wisconsin Award Winners. WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes operates the digital news platform RightWisconsin.com and each year, he presents awards to conservatives in the state. This year – at a banquet to be held this Friday (9/2) – Sykes announces that former Governor Tommy Thompson and Mary Kohler will be presented lifetime achievement awards. Kohler will be presented the Margaret Thatcher Award and Thompson will receive the Ronald Reagan Award. The Thatcher and Reagan Awards are the top honors being given at this fourth annual event. The evening will be hosted by Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Sykes.
The Presidential Race, Dwayne Wade’s Cousin Killed in Chicago Violence, Italy Earthquake Aftermath, Kaepernick Sits Out National Anthem, Weiner Sexting Again, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the Chicago shooting death of Nykea Aldridge, cousin of NBA star Dwayne Wade; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake in central Italy; controversy over NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s sitting out the National Anthem in protest; former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner caught in another sexting case; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. There’s a new PM drive show on Entercom’s sports talk WROC, Rochester “ESPN Rochester.” Replacing “The Radio Press Box with Scott Pitoniak and Dan Borrello” is “The Sports Bar with Mike Danger and Gene Battaglia.” Danger is also programming WROC in addition to his programming role at sister CHR WPXY…..SiriusXM is enhancing its college sports play-by-play offerings with a new five-year broadcasting agreement with Learfield and IMG. The deal now includes both streaming and satellite radio broadcast rights and greatly expands the number of college games that will be available to subscribers on the SiriusXM app…..Alpha Media is announcing that adult contemporary KUIC, Vacaville, California has become an affiliate of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. KUIC will air full broadcast of all Warriors games including playoff games for the 2016-2017 season…..WUUB, Jupiter, Florida “ESPN West Palm” is dedicating its Friday night programming to the biggest high school football matchups in the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast. “Football Night in South Florida” on the Good Karma-operated station is sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza. Also the station adds ESPN’s Paul Finebaum show to its daily lineup, airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The final chapter of the Todd Schnitt vs Bubba the Love Sponge defamation suit has been written, but it doesn’t involved either broadcaster – it’s about three of Bubba’s former attorneys. Regular TALKERS readers will remember that attorneys Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut – with the assistance of legal assistant Melissa Personius and then-cop Ray Fernandez – orchestrated the DUI of Schnitt attorney Philip Campbell in hopes of helping their case. (How would that help? We’re not really sure.) Regardless, Diaco tried to man up and voluntarily gave up his law license in hopes the Florida Supreme Court would go easy on his colleagues. No such luck. The Court has permanently stripped Adams and Filthaut of the right to practice law. For more on the case, see Fox13 News’ summary here.
Howie Carr Sits in on WOR, New York. Syndicated, Boston-based talk host Howie Carr made his New York City debut on Friday (8/26) filling in on the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR for the vacationing “Mr. New York” Mark Simone. Carr’s program is syndicated on numerous signals throughout New England. Pictured above are Carr (left) and Simone (right) who met for the first time at TALKERS magazine’s annual conference in New York several years ago.
Bannon Is the Latest in a Long Line of High-Profile Radio Talkers to Make a Splash in Politics. Whereas most of the media coverage of Breitbart News, LLC chairman Stephen K. Bannon’s appointment this week as CEO of the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign, portrays him primarily as a “pugilistic” media/business/financial figure, the controversial iconoclast was also a rising talent in the world of talk radio. Until taking leave this week to join the Trump campaign, Bannon has served during the past year as the anchor/lead personality on the “Breitbart News Daily” 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET program on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Patriot” channel – a position he performed so effectively that it landed him on the 2016 edition of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I distinctly got the impression, talking to Bannon, that he viewed himself as a ‘team-player’ in an ensemble production and not as the specific star of the show. However, the TALKERS editors felt that he was a very distinct and powerful voice on the program worthy of inclusion on the prestigious list which focuses on stand-out personalities.” Harrison adds, “There is an irony to Bannon now finding himself on the same team with former Fox News Channel head Roger Ailes – also involved with the Trump camp as a consultant. Bannon viewed Fox as being a significantly different type of news reporting agency than Breitbart and aggressively approached the organization as a prime competitor. He seemed quite proud of his depiction of Breitbart as being more news and journalistically oriented than Fox – as well as the rest of today’s big news media players – and more about reporting facts than personality-oriented opinion. This could be an example of politics making strange bedfellows.”
WEEI, Boston Morning Personality John Dennis Steps Away from Daily Duties. After 19 years as co-host of the morning show on Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston, John Dennis is leaving his role as co-host of the program to deal with health issues. In a statement announcing the move, Dennis says he’s making the decision on the advice of his doctors that he reduce his workload. Dennis has been partnered with Gerry Callahan since the show launched. Kirk Minihane joined the program in 2013. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary says the show will continue with Callahan and Minihane. “John is a Boston radio icon and will remain an important part of the WEEI family going forward. To that end, we have been working with John to define a new role for his considerable talents.” Zachary says Dennis will work with station advertisers, act as an ambassador to sponsors and community organizations, and occasionally host WEEI programs. “Most important to him is that John will continue his compassionate work with our annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and will appear in our live broadcasts from Fenway Park, August 29 and 30.” In April of 2015, Dennis took a leave of absence from the station to enter rehab for alcoholism.
Jan Mickelson Returns to WHO, Des Moines Airwaves. After suffering a stroke in November of last year that made him unable to host his daily 9:00 am to 11:30 am show on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines, Jan Mickelson returned to the air hosting a half-hour segment of his program live from the Iowa State Fair yesterday (8/18). Mickelson’s show has been hosted by fill-in personalities since last fall. Mickelson told KCCI-TV, Des Moines that after suffering the stroke and being treated in Iowa he traveled to China for a 2,400 needle acupuncture treatment and says he has a lot of his mobility back. Mickelson will continue to host the 11:00 am to 11:30 am portion of the show as he continues to rehabilitate.
Jeff Smulyan Offers to Take Emmis Communications Private. Via his E Acquisition Corp., Emmis Communications chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan is offering to take Emmis private by acquiring outstanding, publicly held shares of Emmis for $4.10 per share in cash. That’s a 3% premium above the August 18 closing price of Emmis’ stock ($4.00). Smulyan has backing lined up from Falcon Investment Advisors. The offer also includes the commitment to sell many of its publishing assets as well as WLIB-AM, New York and its four Terre Haute, Indiana signals – country WTHI, classic rock WWVR, hot AC WFNB, and sports talk simulcast WFNF/W258BA.
The Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of August 15-19. The presidential campaign, including Donald Trump’s staff changes that bring Breitbart chief Stephen K. Bannon aboard to head the campaign, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Close behind at #2 was the aftermath of the shooting death of an armed black man by police in Milwaukee. Coming in at #3 was the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the controversy over a phony robbery claim by U.S. swimmers, followed by the battle for Aleppo and Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. If you live in the Charlotte area, you might want to know that Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM is seeking an experienced board operator. It’s a part-time position of between 15 and 20 hours per week, including nights and weekends. If you’re interested, contact program director Jason Furst at email@example.com …..High School athletics is on the schedule this school year at E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee’s digital platform. “Preps Live” is broadcasting high school football play-by-play in 2016, airing 26 contests via WTMJ.COM and the WTMJ Radio App.
Community Conversation. On Wednesday afternoon, E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee held a “Community Conversation” to address the shooting death of a young black man by a Milwaukee police officer and the protests that followed. WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer tells TALKERS magazine, “The community response has been overwhelming. It’s WTMJ’s responsibility to help provide some longer-term historical context on this story. The visceral reactions to Saturday’s events need to be countered with real in-depth perspective. It’s really the story of a decades-long shift in the economy and social structure of an American city. Similar stories have unfolded across the country, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. These stories require more than ‘video showbiz’ of demonstrations and quick sound bites. We hope to make a difference, with a more thoughtful and deeper approach in our coverage.” Pictured here in the WTMJ studio are (clockwise from the left): WTMJ afternoon anchor/host, John Mercure; Reverend Willie Briscoe, minister, New Covenant Baptist Church; Toron Brown, businessman and Sherman Park resident; Earl Ingram, president, Earl Ingram Media and former talk show host at WMCS, Milwaukee.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Air Two-Hour ‘Community Conversation.’ In the wake of the violence and protests over the shooting death of an armed black suspect by Milwaukee police last weekend, Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ is presenting a community conversation on the city’s social unrest this afternoon (8/17) from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer says the special will create a forum for local residents, clergy, politicians and police to gather in the same studio to talk about life in the most challenged areas of the city. “The violence that erupted this week is a reminder of the struggles many face in our community. WTMJ Radio will lead the way for a productive listening session, where leaders can get together and offer solutions. Now is not a time for finger pointing, it’s a time to listen.” “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” host John Mercure will moderate the program. In addition to being aired on WTMJ, it will be streamed at wtmj.com and via “Facebook Live” at Facebook.com/wtmj.
Dave Hooker Joins WGOW-FM, Chattanooga’s ‘SportTalk.’ Back on July 4, Chattanooga market sports media legend Gary Haskew, a.k.a. Doctor Basketball, died unexpectedly. Now, Cumulus Media introduces air personality Dave Hooker, who is joining the “SportTalk” show to fill the void left by Haskew’s passing. WGOW interim program director Bill Lockhart says Hooker joins “SportTalk” hosts Scott McMahen, a.k.a. Quake, and Joe Varner, a.k.a. Cowboy, on the show. “It’s rare to find someone of Dave’s talent that perfectly meshes with the existing on-air chemistry of the show. Tennessee and SEC athletics are key components of ‘SportTalk’ and Dave will add a fresh new dimension to a show that’s been an afternoon destination for Chattanooga listeners for more than 27 years. Dave’s knowledge and contacts, plus his radio, print, and digital experience will usher in a new era in Chattanooga radio.”
iHeartMedia Launches Re-Tooled Afternoon Show on WDFN, Detroit and WMAX, Grand Rapids. Detroit radio pro Gregg Henson is partnered up with Big Drew and Jim Costa (co-hosts of the former “It Is What It Is” show on WMAX) for the new “Gregg, Big Drew and Jim” show on iHeartMedia’s WDFN, Detroit and WMAX, Grand Rapids “ESPN 96.1.” The show airs in afternoon drive effective today (8/17). Henson also serves the company programming its sports talk WBGG, Pittsburgh.
MSG Acquires 12% of Townsquare Media. The acquisition doesn’t put any cash into the hands of Townsquare Media, but The Madison Square Garden Company’s purchase of 3.2 million shares of GE Capital’s Class C Common Stock in a private transaction means MSG now has approximately 12% common equity interest in Townsquare. Upon closing, the stock immediately converted to Class A shares. Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We are thrilled that MSG has elected to become a shareholder of our company and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future. MSG is a leading provider of live entertainment with world-class venues and there is no doubt that we will benefit from having their support.” In addition to New York’s Madison Square Garden and The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, MSG also operates Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, California; The Chicago Theatre; and the Wang Theatre in Boston. MSG president and CEO David O’Connor comments, “Using its diversified portfolio of radio stations, digital assets and live events, Townsquare creates compelling content that brings people together and builds communities. We understand and share their belief in the value of exceptional, live experiences, and look forward to working together through this new partnership – which is another opportunity that our partner, Irving Azoff, brought to our attention – to drive additional value and growth for both businesses.”
WAPI, Birmingham Presents Signed Flag in Support of Dallas Police Department. In the photo here, WAPI, Birmingham morning show personalities Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenberg of the “Matt and Aunie Show” present an Alabama state flag signed by hundreds of listeners and Birmingham police officers to representatives of the Dallas Police Department in support of the force after the shooting deaths of five Dallas officers last month. Matt and Aunie also broadcast their program live from Cumulus Media Dallas studios on Monday (8/15).
Scott Shannon to Emcee National Radio Hall of Fame Induction in November. Just two months after emceeing the NAB’s Marconi Radio Awards, legendary WCBS-FM, New York morning personality Scott Shannon will host the 28th Annual National Radio Hall of Fame Induction ceremony at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago on November 17. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “Scott Shannon adds a whole lot of fun and energy to an already electric and emotion filled evening. He’s a 2006 National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee himself, so he knows just how meaningful this evening is for our Class of 2016 Inductees and will bring the perfect tenor to the ceremony.” This year’s inductees include: George G. Beasley, Delilah, Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow & Jerry Cesak), Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson & Kathy Hart), Steve Harvey, Bob Kingsley, Kidd Kraddick, Tony Roberts, Neil Rogers, and Michael Savage.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations that serve as flagships for Major League Baseball based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2016 PPM survey. In this report you’ll find charts listing: stations by format and (6+) AHQ share; ratings fluctuations from June 2016 to July 2016; ratings fluctuations from July 2015 to July 2016; and how stations ranked in their respective markets. See it all here.
Mike Gallagher Joins Michael Harrison on Weekly Podcast. This week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (8/16), features a wide-ranging, intimate interview with Salem Radio Network syndicated star Mike Gallagher. Harrison and Gallagher get into an array of subjects guaranteed to fascinate the program’s growing audience of “media freaks” around the world. These include the changing nature of the human nervous system in the increasingly frenzied digital era, the impact of Donald Trump on American political discussion, the dark side of political bias in today’s left/right debate, and both men’s lifelong love affair with the theater. Gallagher talks about balancing his tremendously successful radio career with his accomplishments on the professional stage. In a segment about the decline of politeness in contemporary society, Gallagher touchingly reveals the personal anguish he suffered after a momentary lapse in judgement resulted in him fat-shaming singer Kelly Clarkson on the air. According to Harrison, “Mike Gallagher is not only one of the most talented and durable news/talkers in the business – he is also one of the nicest. Whether or not you agree with his political stance, his warmth and love of humanity are universal qualities with which any human being of decency can relate. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing him on this podcast and am proud to share it with our listeners.” To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Odds & Sods. Veteran college football analyst, talk show host and former UNLV head football coach Harvey Hyde begins hosting a new mid-week college football talk show on KLAA, Los Angeles effective September 7. “College Football Mid-Week Review” will air Wednesdays at 7:00 pm and will focus on USC, UCLA, the Pac12 Conference and the College Football Playoff selection committee process…..Alpha Media’s rock WFXH, Savannah-Hilton Head “Rock 106.1” is airing Carolina Panthers football this season, including the Monday night “Panther Talk” show featuring head coach Ron Rivera…..ABC Radio is offering three news/talk-oriented programs for airing during Labor Day weekend. They are: “ABC News Radio’s Powerhouse Politics: 5 Things to Know” with Brad Mielke, “Back to School Survival Guide” with Alex Stone, and “ABC Radio’s 10% Happier with Dan Harris.”…..Entercom sports talk station WAXY, Miami “AM 790 The Ticket” is bringing University of Miami and NFL star DJ Williams to the airwaves to appear on three of the station’s shows. Williams will be heard on Mondays from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm alongside Ethan Skolnick and Chris Wittyngham; Tuesdays from 7:00 am to 8:00 am with Zaslow, Romberg and Amber; Wednesdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm with Beast and Leroy; and Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on The Ticket’s “Aqua and Orange Pre-Game Show.”…..New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker will appear on WEPN “ESPN New York 98.7” every Tuesday during the NFL season with Alan Hahn and Rick DiPietro on “Hahn & Humpty,” beginning August 30.
The Presidential Race, Milwaukee Protests, Louisiana Floods/SoCal Wildfire, Aetna to Exit Many ObamaCare Exchanges, France Burkini Controversy, Ellen DeGeneres’ Usain Bolt Tweet, London Muslim Cleric Convicted, John McLaughlin Dies, Rio Oylmpics, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the aftermath of the police killing of an armed black man in Milwaukee; the devastating floods affecting Louisiana and the wildfires in Southern California; insurer Aetna’s decision to exit 11 of the 15 health care exchanges in which it’s currently participating; France outlaws the burkini claiming its use has the potential to cause disturbances; Ellen DeGeneres receives flak for her posting of and image of her riding on Usain Bolt’s back; London Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary is jailed for his ties to Islamic State; conservative TV talk host John McLaughlin – creator of “The McLaughlin Group” – dies at 89; the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Annual ‘Bark in the Park’ Events Finds Homes for 20 Dogs. The 6th annual “Bark in the Park” promotion from Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, hot AC WPLJ, and country WNSH, New York took place on Saturday (8/13) at New Jersey’s Overpeck Park, hosted by WABC’s Mark Levin and personalities from all three stations. The day featured a wide array of vendors, services, great food, agility courses, doggie pools, demonstrations, a cooling station, and activities for families and dog lovers alike – including the always popular “My Dog Looks Like Me” contest! More than 20 dogs were adopted on site during the event from North Shore Animal League America and other area rescue organizations. Pictured here are (from l-r): WABC’s Ron Kuby, Levin, and WPLJ’s Jayde Donovan.
WISN, Milwaukee’s Mark Belling Reverses Course on Trump. Usually, who a talk show host says he or she is going to vote for in a presidential election is not news, but WISN, Milwaukee personality Mark Belling is one of six Wisconsin talk show hosts who gained national attention for vigorously opposing Donald Trump during the contentious Wisconsin GOP primary race. Recently, Belling wrote a piece for the Waukesha Freeman in which he explained that his decision to now support Trump is because he believes Hillary Clinton is a worse candidate. At WISN’s crosstown rival WTMJ, host Charlie Sykes – one of the six aforementioned personalities – tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he’s still against both Trump and Clinton. “So I’ll probably be spending a lot of time this fall talking about the Packers.”
WJOX-FM, Birmingham Drops Evening ‘Matt and Scot’ Show. The Cumulus Media sports talker cuts ties with evening duo Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison. The two worked for Cumulus at KTCK, Dallas before moving to Birmingham to host at WJOX-FM. According to AL.com, the station is airing repeats of the syndicated Paul Finebuam show during the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot for now. McClearin tweeted the following to listeners, “JOX is a phenomenal station with a lot of talent, very thankful we were able to be a part of it for 3½ years, love my time here in BHam.”
Police Violence Against Blacks Top News/Talk Story of the Week. Deadly police violence against blacks was the most-talked-about story in the wake of the deaths of men in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, landing at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Dallas cop slayings. Coming in at #3 was the presidential race followed by the Hillary Clinton email case at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Bill Kristol Show to Launch on PodcastOne. Leading conservative media voice Bill Kristol — editor of The Weekly Standard and an ABC News contributor – is launching a new podcast titled, “The Kristol Clear Podcast,” on PodcastOne. Kristol will be joined by Media DC creative director Michael Graham in the weekly conversation about politics. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Bill is a tremendous voice in the world of politics, which makes bringing an additional program to his fans each week all the more important this election season. Michael and Bill have built great content across The Weekly Standard brand and we’re excited to launch this next MediaDC show with Bill’s well-known personality.” Earlier this year, MediaDC and PodcastOne announced a partnership, kicking off with the launch of podcasts “Weekly Standard Confab” and “Washington Examiner’s Examining Politics.”
Odds & Sods. Portland and nationally syndicated talk show host Lars Larson is hosting a fundraiser today (7/15) to benefit the Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The event at Paradise Harley-Davidson in Tigard, Oregon is in partnership with Leader Capital and prominent Portland businessman Harry Merlo. Leader Capital is pledging to match total donations up to $15,000, while Harry and Flo Merlo have pledged to match total donations up to $5,000 for a combined pledge to match total donations up to $20,000. Larson will broadcast both his regionally syndicated Pacific Northwest show – based at KXL, Portland – and his nationally syndicated program from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm PT…..Alpha Media Amarillo’s three stations – including news/talk KGNC-AM – set a record with 332 units of blood collected during the June 24 “Boots vs Badges Blood Drive.” This is an annual blood drive and this year local law enforcement and first responders cooked for the community and set up emergency vehicles for display and tours during the drive…..The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and Hearst-owned stations news/talk WBAL and rock WIYY are extending their deal to have the two stations serve as the flagship for the team’s radio broadcasts for another six years. This season, every Ravens game will continue to be called by the radio team of play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky and analysts Stan White and Qadry Ismail. The team will also handle pre-season television broadcasts…..FOX News Radio will be in Cleveland broadcasting live from the Republican National Convention. Jared Halpern and analyst Tony Sayegh will anchor primetime coverage throughout the week. Live hourly updates, interviews and special feature reports will air on Fox News Headlines 24/7 on SiriusXM…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago is presenting its “Sixth Annual Taste of WVON” neighborhood festival tomorrow (7/16) from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park. The event will feature more than 100 food and craft vendors, live entertainment, a children’s pavilion and much more!…..The folks who run the charity Kars4Kids are launching a cool promotion based on the notoriety of their ubiquitous radio and TV jingle. They write, “After receiving death threats to our jingle writer and being bombarded with cries for help from the torture our listeners are enduring, we decided to create a platform that would give our listeners an outlet to vent out all that anger and frustration…We just launched the official Kars4Kids Jingle Fever Game at karsforkidsjingle.com. Listeners can now actually get a chance to kill the jingle once and for all and truly bring back peace of mind to mankind. Our jingle plays in all major markets across the US with a reach of an estimated 80 million listeners/viewers.” Check out the creative video that promotes the game – and the charity – here
TALKERS 2016 Conference Wraps; Coverage of Annual Talk Media Event Forthcoming. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention took place at Hofstra University on Long Island on Friday (5/20), drawing a sell-out crowd of several hundred talk media professionals. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations was presented by TALKERS magazine in association with Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU Radio. The full day of panel discussions and speaker presentations was video streamed live by Livestream. Detailed coverage of the event, including archived video from the Livestream content, will be presented here on Talkers.com in the coming weeks. Reflecting on the event, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This was one of the smoothest and productive content-laden installments of this historic convention in its storied 19 years of service to the radio industry. We are grateful to all the speakers, panelists, displayers and sponsors for making it so. We are especially grateful to Dean Evan Cornog of Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU (Radio Hofstra University) station manager Bruce Avery and operations director John Mullen for their phenomenal support as partners in the successful event.” Pictured here are: (top, left) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity engaging in a “fireside chat”; (top, right) Westwood One star Mark Levin accepting the annual Freedom of Speech award; (above, left) Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris accepting the 2016 TALKERS Woman of the Year Award; and (bottom, right) WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa addressing the attendees.
Donald Trump Seeks to Build Support from WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes. Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes and several other Wisconsin talk radio personalities were publicly chastised by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump during that state’s primary election for their opposition to his candidacy. Now, Trump is seeking to bring the influential WTMJ host around. The image you see here is a copy of The New York Times with a hand-written note from Trump to Sykes. It references an article in the paper about groups that’ve previously been against Trump reversing their course. The note to Sykes reads: “Charlie, I hope you change your mind. Looking forward to coming back on your show. I WILL WIN!” WTMJ posted the photo and an accompanying story in its website. Sykes comments, “He’s reaching out. I’m surprised that he would reach out to somebody who has been as critical. Obviously, he understands the need to unify the Republican party and reach out to some conservatives. I figured maybe there would be some conservatives who would be beyond the pale, including #NeverTrump guys like me, but apparently he’s doing that. I will give him credit for reaching out to people that I did not think he was going to reach out to.” Read the WTMJ piece here.
The Presidential Race, EgyptAir Crash Investigation, TSA Efficiency Issues, Facebook Anti-Conservative Bias Allegations, Islamic State Calls for Civilian Attacks, and NBA and NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the investigation into the downing of EgyptAir flight 804; efficiency issues plaguing the TSA in screening airline passengers and statements from the agency that lines will get worse this summer; the controversy over allegations that Facebook manipulates its trending stories to downplay conservative issues; a high-ranking Islamic State official’s call for renewed attacks on European and American civilians; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. KBET, Las Vegas-based talk show host Wayne Allyn Root will appear on this Friday’s edition of HBO’s “Real Time” with Bill Maher. Also on the show will be Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Root tells TALKERS his role will be to defend Donald Trump…..Two Fox News Radio programs are being made available on the CRN Digital Talk Radio platform. “Kilmeade & Friends” with Brian Kilmeade and the Alan Colmes show are both the CRN 2 “Bulls and Bears” channel…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show with host Michael W. Dean adds new affiliate KZLS, Enid, Oklahoma.
Herskovitz: Hall Talk 2016. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today in the aftermath of last Friday’s TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference. He says the sales pros attending the conference with whom he spoke all agreed that political advertising and digital sales were the hot topics this year. He says, “The unusual circumstances surrounding the current national candidates are posing unique sales problems. Yes, just about all with whom I spoke, acknowledged that they benefited from the ad wars affecting the primary season. But now local and regional battles are upon us. And numerous aspiring candidates are not allying themselves with the traditional wings of their political parties. Some candidates with no clearly defined affiliations are emerging.” Read Herskovitz’s column here.
WFAN, New York Personality Richard Neer Publishes Second Mystery Novel. Did you know that The Martian began as a self-published book? As did Still Alice and Legally Blonde. Do you think you’ve written a great book but the publishing industry won’t give it the attention it deserves? Richard Neer of WFAN, New York has just released the second of his Riley King series of mysteries through Amazon and CreateSpace — cutting out the middleman. Both are selling briskly without a traditional publisher. “Publishers are skeptical that radio, other than a few syndicated giants, can sell books. I’m happy to be proving them wrong,” Neer says. His traditionally published book, FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio was released in 2001 by Villard, and Neer believes that it wouldn’t stand a chance with a major publisher today. “I’ve had radio friends with great stories to tell inform me that their manuscripts have been rejected because there aren’t enough sordid tales of sex and drugs. They’re not interested in great writing — just sensationalism and what seems trendy today.” The Master Builders is the title of Neer’s latest effort. As a result of promoting it on his WFAN sports talk radio show, his first novel, Something of the Night, is also selling well. Both are murder mysteries featuring private investigator Riley King and his radio sidekick Rick Stone as they battle crime and corruption up and down the Eastern Seaboard. “Just like with the music and film industry, there’s a revolution in publishing where traditional gatekeepers are less important. People can be introduced to fine work that otherwise might be ignored. It’s a lot more democratic. Sometimes those books can be as important or entertaining as the big blockbusters,” Neer says. “As much as I lament the demise of many great bookstores, most readers are buying online these days.” Richard is available for interviews about the business of publishing your own work and can be contacted at Rneer@wfan.com. All his books can be purchased at Amazon.com here.
National Radio Hall of Fame 2016 Nominees Announced. Today, industry voting begins for the 2016 National Radio Hall of Fame inductees. The 24 nominations in six categories were determined by the organization’s nominating committee. Four of those categories will be voted on by a voting participant panel comprised of 400 industry professionals, while the other two will be voted on by the public. Public voting commences June 20 for eight nominations for Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “The sheer depth of talent in our industry never ceases to amaze me. After much discussion and deliberation, our nominating committee is very proud of this year’s class of nominees. We’re all looking forward to seeing the voter outcome from our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” Inductees will be announced July 11. The induction ceremony will be held Thursday, November 17 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago. Nominees are: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more): Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow & Jerry Cesak), San Diego; Charles Laquidara, Boston; Bobby O’Jay, Memphis; and Garland Robinette, New Orleans. Active Local/Regional (10 years or more): Tom Barnard, Minneapolis; BJ & Migs (BJ Shea & Steve Migs), Seattle; Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson & Kathy Hart), Chicago; and Preston and Steve (Preston Elliot & Steve Morrison), Philadelphia. Networks/Syndication (10 years or more): American Top 40 & On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, Ryan Seacrest; The Fabulous Sports Babe, Nanci Donnellan; The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Steve Harvey; and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal. Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more): Delilah, Delilah; Gospel Traxx with Walt “Baby” Love, Walt “Baby” Love; The Jim Rome Show, Jim Rome; and The Kim Komando Show, Kim Komando. The following are to be voted on by listeners. Music Format On-Air Personality: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton; Tom Kent; The Kevin & Bean Show (Kevin Ryder & Gene Baxter); and Bob Kingsley. Spoken Word On-Air Personality: Diane Rehm; Mike Francesa and Chris Russo; Michael Savage; and Sean Hannity.
Gracies Awards Ceremony Take Place Tomorrow in Beverly Hills. The 41st annual Gracie Awards are taking place tomorrow (5/24) in Beverly Hills and actress Marika Domińczyk will serve as host. Also, Grammy Award-nominee Andra Day will perform her hit, “Rise Up.” The Gracie Awards honor outstanding individual achievement and programming by, for and about women. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair and SVP, Global Content Operations at Discovery Communications, Kristen Welch, says, “The talent that Marika holds, along with her contagious energy and sense of humor, makes her an ideal host for the Gracie Awards Gala. In the spirit of The Gracies, our host, presenters and performances will be unapologetically diverse, loud, personal, funny, emotional and bold.” The Gracie Awards Gala will be live streamed in partnership with Cumulus on websites nationwide.
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces Promotions; Eric Brooks Named Director of Programming and News. Saying that the promotions and structural changes will help “further grow the station as Milwaukee’s and Wisconsin’s premier source for local programming, local news and local connection,” VP and general manager Tom Langmyer ups three staffers at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee. Eric Brooks is promoted to director, programming & news. Langmyer says, “WTMJ does more than aggregate others’ content and Eric is greatly responsible for leading the team in this direction. Through Eric’s work, we have more reporters on the street and a greater focus on engaging local stories and topics to serve our listeners.” At the same time, Langmyer announces that Erin Dismeier is upped to executive producer, WTMJ programming. She’ll continue in her role as producer for “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” and add supervisory duties for some members of the content team. Erik Bilstad continues his role as executive producer, WTMJ news. Now, he’ll serve as WTMJ’s lead reporter and co-anchor of “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News.” Langmyer says the realignment offers him more time to build upon his Murrow Award-winning reporting.
Nielsen Audio: News/Talk Continues Upward Trend. Citing the 2016 presidential election as the reason for increased listening to the news/talk format, Nielsen Audio shares data from its March 2016 PPM survey that indicates its rise in listenership across the PPM markets. Nielsen reports, “At the persons 6+ level, news/talk now represents a 10% share of all radio listening – a level it hasn’t seen since the last presidential election in 2012. Among adults 18-34 this year, news/talk rose from a 4.1% share in February to a 4.2% share in March. In news/talk’s ‘money demo’ of adults 25-54, the format climbed from a 6.9% share in February to a 7.0% share in March. From Democrats to Republicans, Undecided to Independent, the conversation about America’s future president is being debated on news/talk radio.” News/talk was the most-listened-to format during the March PPM survey (6+), topping CHR which garnered 8% of all radio listening. See more here.
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Conference Hits Orlando. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey hosted the Smart Conference at Calvary Orlando last Saturday (4/16) before a packed house. The day’s events included speakers Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, John O’Leary, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker, and Michael Jr. and provided attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers. Ramsey combined forces with iHeartMedia local affiliate “NewsRadio 102.5 WFLA” (WFLF-AM and W273CA) to promote the event. Pictured here with Ramsey (center) are station PD Jim Poling (left) and cluster general sales manager Mark Kanak (right).
Odds & Sods. This past weekend, nationally syndicated talk host Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour hit Asheville, North Carolina. With that state’s controversial new “Bathroom Law” that prohibits transgender citizens from using the restroom designated for the gender with which they identify set as the backdrop, the show was featured by WLOS-TV, Asheville news. Miller is pictured here speaking about the comedy show on the news piece. She said they hope to bring attention to the issue through their comedy…..WABC, New York political editor Rita Cosby stepped in to interview Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who was booked on the station’s “Bernie and Sid” show with Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg on Friday (4/15). Producer Jill Vitale tells TALKERS magazine that Secretary Clinton “freaked out” when she found out McGuirk and Rosenberg were to interview her. So, to smooth things over, Cosby quickly agreed to handle the interview…..The purchase of KLTQ-FM, Beulah, North Dakota by Guy Giuliano’s DSN Radio LLC from Todd Mohr’s Synergy Broadcast Group is complete. The signal will simulcast sports talk KDKT-AM, Beulah. DSN president Guy Giuliano says, “The new FM signal will offer KDKT further opportunities to grow and serve the communities of western North Dakota with local sports and news coverage.”…..WBAP, Dallas talk show host Chris Krok – pictured here with his wife Faye – tells TALKERS magazine he and his family got the ride of their lives when the whole family was able to ride in a helicopter from the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway! It was part of his third annual “Krok and His Flock” promotion at the speedway.
The Presidential Race/GOP Delegate Rules Fight, Saudi Arabia Threatens U.S. Assets Sale Over 9/11 Documents, Battle Against Islamic State, Gitmo Prisoners Transferred to Saudi Arabia, and Poll: American Mistrust of Media Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president and the controversy over the rights to GOP delegates; the threat by Saudi Arabia to sell U.S. assets if 9/11 documents are released indicating the kingdom was complicit in the attacks; the U.S. military’s policy for battling Islamic State in Iraq; the transfer of nine Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Saudi Arabia; and the recent poll indicating most Americans hold distrust of the media were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Analysis: RAIN Summit West 2016. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the NAB Show for TALKERS magazine and he was working hard on Sunday at Kurt Hanson’s RAIN Summit West 2016, traditionally held the day before the NAB Show opens. In today’s report, read what Hubbard Radio chair and CEO Ginny Morris had to say about her company’s efforts to innovate for their audience as well as her thoughts about the spot sales business. Plus, PodcastOne founder Norm Pattiz addressed the summit and you can read what he had to say about monetizing the podcasting industry. See Cooke’s entire report here.
The Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 21-25. The activities of the candidates for president and the primary races were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Brussels terror attacks. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State followed by President Obama’s trips to Cuba and Argentina at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley Gets National Attention for Governor Christie Interview. The fiscal crisis being faced by Atlantic City, New Jersey – the city will run out of money on April 8 – is a regional issue but Governor Chris Christie has national visibility, so the media pays attention when he speaks. Christie did a 40-minute interview with WPGG morning host Harry Hurley on March 24 that was reported on by the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, The Washington Times, the Philadelphia Enquirer, and a New Zealand-based organization called Foreign Affairs, in addition to the New Jersey media. Christie has proposed a state takeover of the city that has support in the New Jersey legislature but New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto opposes the plan. Hurley tells TALKERS magazine Christie appeared on his show without interruption from 7:35 to 8:15 and was followed by a 40-minute interview with Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, who responded to the governor. Hurley says he’s amazed at how the interview went viral. Harry Hurley was recently named the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host (“Humanitarian of the Year”). It will be presented to him during the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference set for Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Hurley is one of more than 60 speakers set for what promises to be a memorable and productive day. The conference will be an early sellout. For information, please click here.
KXL, Portland Hosting Democratic Presidential Primary Debate. This primary election debate will be between representatives from the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders camps who will discuss the issues along with local student campaign supporters. A media panel comprised of KXL talk host Lars Larson, KXL morning news anchor Rebecca Marshall, and KOIN-TV news reporter Jeff Gianola will moderate. It will take place at Alpha Media’s Skype Live Studio on March 29 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm with a social hour from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Alpha EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “‘FM News 101 KXL’ owns the leadership position with the presidential debate coverage so this Skype Live Studio debate is a natural extension of our election coverage strategy.” The debate is open to the public.
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Hosts Ted Cruz at Annual ‘Insight’ Event. This year’s version of the annual “Charlie Sykes Insight” live event featured GOP candidate Senator Ted Cruz as he launched his campaign to win the Wisconsin GOP Primary. He took part in a one-on-one interview with WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes on Wednesday (3/23). Cruz and Sykes spoke for an hour. As the station has done in past years, audio from the event was broadcast on Sykes’ midday show. Pictured here are (from l-r): Cruz, Sykes and Heidi Cruz.
Nielsen Investigates Millennials. The Holy Grail of advertising in 2016 is to reach the Millennial generation – defined roughly as those ages 18-35 (as of 2015). But as the Nielsen Insights report highlights, not all Millennials (nor Boomers nor Gen-Xers for that matter) are at the same points in their lives – and that matters when trying to understand their media behavior. In looking at technology penetration and media usage, Nielsen breaks the Millennial generation into three types: Dependent Adults (living in someone else’s home), On Their Own (living in their own home without children) and Starting a Family (living in their own home with children). Obviously the three types have different lifestyles and, consequently, different media habits. Much of the report explains differences in digital device penetration and usage, but about radio it has this to say: “The report found that radio reaches 90% of Millennials who are Dependent Adults and 89% of Millennials who are On Their Own. But that number rises to 92% among Millennials who are Starting a Family. This group contains a higher percentage of Hispanics, who tend to be heavy users of radio.” See the whole report and more here.
Narcissism and Talk Radio. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Renee Kohanski writes in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the topic of narcissism. The presidential campaign has brought this subject front-and-center as commentators analyze political candidates and media figures. But it’s important to understand what the terms mean as they apply to personality types. Read this enlightening article to learn about the difference between narcissism and self-esteem and the gray areas in between. Click her for here.
Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2016. The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame was created in 2008 to “to celebrate the storied history of the industry in Rhode Island, and to honor the men and women who have played a part in its growth.” This year’s class of inductees includes regular TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo contributor Holland Cooke who began his radio career at WPRO-AM, Providence as a disc jockey and served as program director for WSNE, Providence. Other inductees include: Bob DeCarlo, Bill George, Mike Gorman, Bruce Palmer, and Debbie Rich. Additionally, the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio in the Ocean State (John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores) and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – goes to Karen Kutniewski. The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Denise Laprise to celebrate her more than 25 years as support staffer for Providence media. This year’s induction ceremony will also include recognition for the Legacy Station of the Year. Created to recognize outstanding Rhode Island radio stations of the past, their formats, and their personnel on and off the air, this year they remember “JB 105.” Proceeds from the May 12 ceremony will benefit Special Olympics of Rhode Island.
Odds & Sods. The GCN-syndicated “Doctor Daliah” show – hosted by Dr. Daliah Wachs – is added to the program lineup at Florida Talk Radio-owned WSRQ, Sarasota, Florida…..Author, voice-over artist, audio producer, and cancer survivor Robin Marshall is collaborating with Flatlands Avenue Productions for marketing and promotion of her exclusive, “Sugar Mom Podcast.” Debra Grobman and Rita Rich, principals at Flatlands, describe in the podcast, how Marshall encourages women to step out of their comfort zone and be all they can be!
Presidential Race, U.S. Immigration Policy, Apple vs FBI, Scalia Replacement Debate, and Oscars Ceremony Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/29). The activities of the candidates for president prior to the Super Tuesday primary; the debate over the future of United States immigration policy; Apple’s court fight to avoid providing the FBI with a back door into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists; the fight in Washington over the timeline for replacing late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; and the post-ceremony analysis of the Academy Awards show were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WTMJ, Milwaukee and RightWisconsin.com Present ‘Charlie Sykes Insight 2016.’ Milwaukee news/talk WTMJ and Charlie Sykes’ RightWisconsin.com are announcing the guests for the 2016 edition of “Charlie Sykes Insight” – a live taping of WTMJ’s “Midday with Charlie Sykes” radio show featuring politicians, commentators and pundits. Tickets for the luncheon-style event are available to listeners. Guests are expected to include: U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), WI State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield), WI Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., political strategist Mary Jo Baas, Milwaukee County supervisor Deanna Alexander, Edge Messaging president Brian Fraley, former State Representative Michelle Litjens, political science professor Dr. John McAdams, Media Trackers communications director Brian Sikma, WTMJ-AM host Jeff Wagner, and RightWisconsin.com managing editor Collin Roth. Sykes says, “The year 2016 has seen the political world turned on its head, and the playbook rewritten. Once again, we will take an in-depth look at the tight U.S. Senate race, the battle for a seat on the WI Supreme Court, and the examination of the ‘snowflake rebellion’ sweeping the nation’s college and university campuses. We’ll also feature expert analysis of the campaign and two all-star pundit panels. And, of course, we will give the audience a chance to participate in a live ‘Charlie, What I Don’t Get’ session.”
Odds & Sods. Comic Jim Breuer’s podcasts are now being repped by AdLarge Media. Two shows – “The Metal In Me” and “Mets And More” – are already available and new podcasts are in development. They also will be represented exclusively by AdLarge Media. “The Metal in Me” explores Breuer’s love of heavy metal music with a comic bent, featuring impressions, bits, guest interviews, and an ensemble cast of musical friends. “Mets and More” is about Breuer’s “take on life, love, work, and baseball.”…..A new voice is joining the radio broadcast booth for Milwaukee Brewers games beginning this season. Lane Grindle – who has been with the University of Nebraska Husker Sports Network for the past 10 years – will travel with broadcaster Jeff Levering for games that baseball radio legend Bob Uecker does not work. E.W. Scripps news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee is the flagship station for Brewers baseball…..SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel will begin its “2016 MLB Spring Training Tour.” The programming will emanate from spring training sites in Florida and Arizona through March with a two-hour show focusing on each MLB team. Programs will include conversations with managers, players and executives.
Baltimore Newsman Bob Schilling Dead at 75. Baltimore news figure Bob Schilling died on February 28 at the age of 75 after a battle with lung cancer. Schilling was a news reporter and news director at WCBM-AM, Baltimore for 19 years. He also was a managing editor for WBFF-TV, Baltimore.
Former WOAI-AM, San Antonio News Anchor Bob Guthrie Dies. In addition to serving as the longtime morning drive news anchor at WOAI-AM, San Antonio, Bob Guthrie also worked at WOAI-TV. Guthrie served with the stations for more than 50 years, joining WOAI-AM in 1956. He retired in 2009.
Cool Job Opportunity. The Kim Komando show is seeking an experienced director of affiliate relations. In this position, you will work closely with current radio affiliate stations and prospective radio affiliate stations. You are a very important link between our programs and the stations. You will work to understand station’s needs and objectives and liaise closely with them from contract to broadcast and finally, always ensuring their satisfaction with our programming. You also manage administrative and marketing work as it relates to current and prospective radio affiliates across the United States. You also work with other teams including editorial, digital marketing and production. To see more about this position and to apply, click here.
Nielsen Client Conference Wrap-Up. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report summing up the events at the Friday sessions of the Nielsen Audio Client Conference. In this piece, he reports on Edison Research president Larry Rosin’s one-on-one with progressive talk personality Stephanie Miller; Arnold Worldwide Global creative officer Jim Elliott’s presentation about creating advertising that works; a report on the music habits of Millennials from Nielsen Entertainment VP Insights and Analytics Julianne Schiffer; plus thoughts about the radio business from Millennial Zach Sang and Baby Boomer Mark Thompson. Read Holland Cooke’s entire report here.
Radio One Re-Brands One-Time Urban Talker WDBZ, Cincinnati ‘Praise 1230.’ And the format is mostly gospel music now on WDBZ “Praise 1230, Cincinnati’s Inspiration Station.” Gone are almost all of the secular talk shows that were heard when it was “1230 The Buzz,” except for live and local personality Lincoln Ware (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) and the Reach Media-syndicated Al Sharpton program. WLWT-TV, Cincinnati reports that callers to Ware’s program are promising a letter-writing campaign to the station, with one caller complaining that WDBZ was “the only voice we had.” However, Gospel music promoter Tracey Artis tells WLWT-TV, “I don’t think Radio One would have considered taking down that format if it was profitable for them.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Ramps Up Radio Appearances to Get Message Out. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was not the most radio friendly politician during his first 20 months in office. According to John Dawsey’s piece in the Wall Street Journal, he did less than 30 radio shows during that period. But, with sagging approval ratings, de Blasio has made 30 appearances in the last three months – even on radio shows hosted by conservatives. WOR, New York’s Todd Schnitt and Len Berman worked for 10 months to get de Blasio on the program and just had him on in November. Schnitt is quoted saying, “Now, he’s doing a full on PR offensive because his numbers are taking a hit. An outside consultant or some genius on the inside must have said to him, ‘We’ve got to boost the ratings here.’” Mayoral staffers say radio is a great medium to get the message straight to constituents. Read the whole piece here.
A Dickens of a Fundraiser. Last Tuesday (12/1), WTMJ, Milwaukee presented a live, radio play version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” before a sold out crowd at the city’s Turner Hall Ballroom. Station personality Charlie Sykes starred as Ebenezer Scrooge, the voice of the Green Bay Packers, Wayne Larrivee, served as the narrator. All of WTMJ’s hosts were joined on stage by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn and other surprise guests. Proceeds from the event donated thousands of dollars to the station’s “Kids2Kids” program. Audio of the live performance will air on WTMJ on Saturday, December 19 and will play again on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Odds & Sods. Radio news pro Doug Limerick is retiring from ABC News Radio on December 18 after a 33-year career with the news organization. Limerick got his start in radio while still in high school. He got his first news gig as an anchor at WKIX, Raleigh. He then moved to WSGN, Birmingham; WBT, Charlotte; and WHDH, Boston before relocating to Washington and ABC’s WRQX in 1979. He started at ABC News Radio in 1982. ABC News Radio says its award-winning Cheri Preston will move to morning anchor duties effective Monday, January 4…..Talk radio pro Chad Wilkinson exits Newsmax where he’s been executive producer for the company’s Newsmax TV division for the past three years…..A former New Orleans radio staffer has been arrested for allegedly using photocopied ID information from radio station contest winners to create fraudulent accounts with cable companies and media services. Bryan Bienemy reportedly worked for sports talker KLRZ, New Orleans “ESPN 100.3” and also worked for the Cumulus Media station group in the market.
San Bernardino Aftermath and President Obama’s Sunday Address Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The aftermath of the deadly shootings in San Bernardino, the related issue of Islamic State-inspired terror attacks on American soil and President Obama’s Sunday evening address to the nation about the issues were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk stations over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
RIP Brad Saul. Radio pro Brad Saul passed away at his home in Chicago on Friday, December 4 at age 55 after a 25-year battle with multiple sclerosis. Saul was president and CEO of WebTalkRadio.net and was CEO of radio syndicator Matrix Media. He is survived by his wife Debbie, and his 16-year-old triplets, Gabrielle, Brennan and Griffen. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian writes more about Saul and his career here.
WTMJ Boosts Brooks to Program Manager. WTMJ, Milwaukee assistant program director Eric Brooks is elevated to program manager of the E.W. Scripps talker/Milwaukee Brewers flagship. Scripps Milwaukee radio operations vice president-general manager/Scripps vice president, news-talk-sports programming Tom Langmyer comments, “Eric has been an invaluable partner in handling day-to-day programming responsibilities for WTMJ. In his new and expanded role, he will now lead our content team on a daily basis in programming, news, and sports. Eric will work directly with our fulltime program hosts; the news team; and with the digital content team. Between the recent addition of Dayton Kane as program manager of [co-owned country WKTI] and Eric’s new role with WTMJ, both stations have strong and dedicated programming leadership.” Brooks remarks, “I have always been humbled to be a part of a prestigious heritage station like WTMJ. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with our team every day; this place is truly special. Our goal always will be to have great local programming and a strong commitment to being ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station.'” Before joining WTMJ four years ago as news anchor/producer, Brooks was a news director in Jacksonville, Illinois at WLDS-AM and WEAI-FM. While a student at Valparaiso University, he interned at WGN-AM, Chicago. Ranked fifth (6+) in Nielsen Audio‘s August 2015 PPM report, WTMJ declines for the fourth successive time and is off by a combined 3.7 shares since April (10.1 – 8.4 – 8.0 – 7.1 – 6.4, 6+).
‘AM Tampa Bay’ Host Jack Harris Re-Ups with WFLA-AM. Longtime WFLA-AM, Tampa morning show co-host Jack Harris signs a new, three-year deal to continue his role with the station. Harris is part of the “AM Tampa Bay” program that includes co-hosts Ted Webb and Corey Dylan. iHeartMedia Tampa market president Sam Nein states, “Jack Harris is an icon in the Tampa Bay market. Re-signing Jack to insure he continues as the cornerstone of WFLA-AM for the foreseeable future was top priority for us. Having completed that is something we are very happy to share and celebrate with his many listeners, clients and friends!”
Boston-Based Talk Radio Host Howie Carr Details Threat Against His Life by Whitey Bulger. In a piece written for the Daily Beast, longtime Boston Herald columnist and syndicated talk show host Howie Carr writes about his dealings with convicted mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. Public interest in the Bulger story is high with the current film Black Mass in theaters, in which Johnny Depp plays Bulger. Carr, whose work as a reporter in Boston during the 1970s connected him to Whitey Bulger and his politician brother William Bulger, has written extensively about the Boston crime scene. He wrote the 2006 book, The Brothers Bulger, and the 2011 book, Hitman, about Johnny Martorano, and has a new novel, Killers, based in the Boston Irish mob setting. In the article, Carr writes that he believes Whitley Bulger would have liked him dead but questions the details of some of the stories that surround alleged plans to kill him. Read the whole piece here.
Jorge Sedano Paired with Jen Lada for ESPN Radio’s 9:00 pm ET Show. As TALKERS sources predicted several weeks ago, Jorge Sedano moves back two hours on the ESPN Radio schedule to a 9:00 pm ET start with new partner Jen Lada for the two-hour “Jorge & Jen” program. The announcement from ESPN Radio pretty much wraps the changes to the radio network’s schedule that were precipitated by the departure of Colin Cowherd during the summer. TALKERS sources say Sedano will do more basketball work for ESPN in addition to the radio show but the sports giant makes no mention of that in its press release. Lada joined ESPN earlier this year from her previous role at Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
Former FCC Commissioners Copps and McDowell Pen Plea for FM Translator Window. Two former FCC commissioners – Democrat Michael Copps and Republican Robert McDowell – wrote a piece in The Hill that urges the FCC to open an application window for FM translators to AM license holders only. Citing the increased interference with which AM signals must contend in today’s increasingly technical society for one, Copps and McDowell believe the application window must be part of any AM revitalization plan. Read their piece in The Hill here.
Odds & Sods. An expansion of the deal between Radio Express – a supplier of entertainment programming to radio outside the U.S. – and jacapps provides for the former to exclusively market and sell jacapps-branded radio station mobile applications to radio stations around the world. This follows the deal consummated earlier this summer which allows Radio Express to market and sell the V4 platform to radio stations across Latin America and Africa…..The Mix Group is using its booth at next week’s NAB Radio Show in Atlanta to help raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. For each person who steps into the live Mix recording booth to create on-the-spot radio imaging, Mix will make a donation on his or her behalf.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $235,000 at Celebrity Golf Tourney. The annual summer fundraiser for the Broadcasters Foundation of America – the 2015 Celebrity Golf Tournament held at The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conneciticut – raised $235,000 for the charity that provides financial assistance to broadcasters in need. BFoA reports that last year, it gave away close to $850,000 in grants. More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the BFoA, including famed sportscasters, athletes, and actors. Celebrity golfers included: Maurice Dubois, WCBS-TV; Rachel Grant, actress and philanthropist; Jay Harris, ESPN; Otis Livingston, WCBS-TV; Sean McDonough, ABC and ESPN; Lonnie Quinn, WCBS-TV; Bruce Beck, NBC -TV; and more. Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross.
Chatting Up Miss America. WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley (left) poses for a photo with the newly crowned Miss America – Betty Cantrell of Georgia (right). Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who led the effort to bring the Miss America pageant back to Atlantic City three years ago, called into the program live this morning. As the 2016 Miss America, Cantrell will be working closely with The Children’s Miracle Network for the next year. She is the first Miss Georgia to win the crown since 1953.
Pope Francis’ Visit to America, Trump Candidacy/2016 Presidential Candidates, Potential Government Shutdown, Chinese President Xi Jinping in U.S., FBI Recovers Hillary Clinton Emails, Iran Nuclear Deal, European Migrant Crisis/U.S. Immigration Policy, and Death of Yogi Berra Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/23). The visit to the U.S. by Pope Francis; the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and the activities of the other candidates for president in 2016; the looming threat of a federal government shutdown; Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States; the FBI’s recovery of some of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails from a private server; the controversy over the nuclear deal with Iran; the migrant troubles being experienced by European nations tied with U.S. immigration policy; and the death of American icon Yogi Berra were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Glenn Beck to Take Time Off to Rest Strained Vocal Cords. Nationally syndicated talk radio host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck announced via Facebook yesterday that he’s taking time off from his daily radio program to rest his voice. He states in the video, “As you may or may not have noticed over the past couple of months, my voice has been changing a bit. Because I have had problems with my nerves in my vocal cords in the past where my voice has stopped working, I have been a little concerned, but I have really, really great doctors. This Friday I consulted with them and they have advised me to take a few weeks off and rest my voice due to some severe strain that has happened.” Beck is expected to return to hosting his programs on August 3. Meanwhile, although Beck did not directly address the news that his TheBlaze is ceasing operation of its radio news network this summer, he touched on the matter in another way when he spoke about the direction of his work in the future. “I know the staff has this weekend been working overtime on the trying to find the things that we can do to enrich us and keep us on track for where we are headed. They will be doing some really exciting things on radio and television that I think will help us. The time for looking and saying what is happening with the news is over. Now we need to start to say what’s coming our way and what can we do about it – and that’s where my focus is going to be.”
Bonnie Petrie Joins ‘Wisconsin’s Morning News’ on WTMJ, Milwaukee. Award-winning journalist Bonnie Petrie is named co-anchor of “Wisconsin’s Morning News” alongside Gene Mueller on E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee. Petrie most recently worked in radio at Radio One’s Houston all-news WROI “News 92.” She’s also worked at CBS RADIO’s KRLD-AM, Dallas and iHeartMedia’s WGY, Albany. WTMJ notes that Petrie has been honored with awards for anchoring, feature writing, series writing and production. WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer comments, “We were looking for very specific qualities in a news anchor to join Gene Mueller and ‘Wisconsin’s Morning News.’ Bonnie combines the qualities of experience in large news organizations, leadership depth, ideas, great writing ability, work-ethic, drive, an engaging personality and the passion for being an active part of our community.” Petrie will join the station on July 13 and begins on the morning program in August.
Carter Brokaw Joins iHeartMedia as President of Digital Revenue Strategy. In this position, Carter Brokaw will oversee iHeartMedia‘s digital sales efforts, driving digital revenue through new and existing sales channels as well as developing new digital revenue strategies for the company. He assumes the president of digital revenue strategy after serving with Guardian News and Media. He reports to Tim Castelli, president of national sales, marketing and partnerships. The company reports that Brokaw will work closely with Brian Kaminsky, iHeartMedia’s president of programmatic and data operations, to take to market iHeartMedia’s “first-of-its-kind programmatic, real-time ad buying platform launched earlier this year for broadcast radio stations, enriched with unique and proprietary data as well as third-party data.” Castelli comments, “Carter’s impressive track record of developing business strategies and launching national sales organizations for several media companies makes him the perfect person to drive our digital sales strategy. His vision and skill sets will be integral as we continue to build on the success of our digital sales team.”
Engmann Appointed GSM at iHM Milwaukee. Nine-year Nielsen Audio senior account manager Randy Engmann joins iHeartMedia Milwaukee as general sales manager. Senior vice president of sales Nathan Tonarelli declares, “We are excited to welcome Randy to our winning Milwaukee team. Randy’s leadership, knowledge, and drive will be a great addition to our culture.” Engmann remarks, “I am extremely enthusiastic in joining such a talented team providing a wide variety of offerings with the strong, impactful, high value brands of Milwaukee.” The company’s six Milwaukee properties include news/talk WISN; urban contemporary WKKV “V-100.7 Jams”; WMIL “FM 106.1 Milwaukee Country”; WOKY “Big Sports 920”; WRIT “Oldies 95.7”; and CHR WRNW “Radio Now.” In advance of his Nielsen Audio tenure, Engmann worked at cross-town Entercom Milwaukee as an account executive, general sales manager, and regional account manager.
Milt Rosenberg Moves to PM Drive in Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Chicago radio icon Milt Rosenberg’s program on WCGO will move from middays to the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. Rosenberg – who spent most of his Windy City radio career hosting “Extension 720” on Tribune’s crosstown WGN – joined the Kovas Communications-owned station in April of this year.
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Radio Imaging Master and ‘Deep End’ Host Nick Michaels. This week’s new installment of Podcast One’s international hit podcast for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is posted today (7/7). It features a candid, free-flowing conversation between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and legendary radio imaging master Nick Michaels – host of the long-running, syndicated classic rock (and beyond) radio show “The Deep End with Nick Michaels.” The two practitioner/theorists discuss the state of imaging in radio and related media, sea changes in today’s creative approach to advertising, the increasing scarcity of time in the modern world, and serious problems facing music radio in the digital era. Michaels says, “Time is the new currency in today’s over-communicated world” – a concept he defines as ‘too much information traveling through too little time.’” He says that the competition for people’s attention has never been more intense and in order for programmers and advertisers alike to get their messages across they must do so by focusing on the perspective of the recipients of the message, not the presenters. Michaels boldly states, “In this environment, the advertiser’s need to sell a product or get a message out is no longer an annoyance, burden or interruption that this audience is willing to bear!” To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
Greater Media Philadelphia Re-Ups with NHL’s Flyers. The new multi-year deal between Greater Media’s Philadelphia cluster and the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers means sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” will continue to serve as the flagship of the Flyers Radio Network. Flyers games will air on both WPEN-FM and sister rock outlet WMMR. Additionally, Greater Media’s classic rock WMGK and adult hits WBEN-FM will continue to be promotional partners with the team.
Odds & Sods. At iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York, Blain Ensley is named the new producer for the station’s late-morning Mark Simone show. The New York radio pro has a two-decade-long career producing, writing and co-hosting radio shows. He’s worked at NYC outlets WABC, WPLJ, WNEW-FM as well as WMMR in Philadelphia…..Legendary Houston radio personality Barry Warner is being inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in November. Warner is currently a Yahoo Sports Radio network contributor and hosts the “Barry Warner Classic Minute.” He’s also a host on KGOW, Houston and a contributor to Gow Media-owned KFNC-FM, Houston…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” announces Northwestern Orange County will be the next community to be featured on its award-winning series, “KNX On Your Corner.” On Friday, July 31, the station will broadcast live most of the day from the Katella Deli in Los Alamitos, including the Frank Mottek-hosted “KNX Business Hour” and the afternoon news co-hosted by Diane Thompson and Chris Sedens…..SiriusXM launches a weekly interview program hosted by former New York Times columnist and best-selling author Bill Carter. “The Bill Carter Interview” will feature conversations with “performers, writers, producers, and executives who are shaping the culture today.”…..New Hampshire Public Radio is recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association with a 2015 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in the small market category. NHPR president Betsy Gardella says, “This national recognition is a testament to the thorough and thoughtful local reporting efforts of our news team day in and day out. It is an extraordinary moment for NHPR, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Brian Joyce Gets Wet for Pets. Chattanooga talk show host Brian Joyce (pictured here atop the dunk tank) helped the Hamilton County Humane Society and the McKamey Animal Center in Chattanooga get new homes for 108 dogs and cats at the recent all-day “Adopt-A-Thon.” The WGOW “Talk Radio 102.3 FM” midday personality says it was satisfying to know that so many animals now have “forever” homes thanks to the efforts of the local community and media.
2016 Presidential Prospects, Kate Steinle Death-Illegal Immigration Debate, Bill Cosby Testimony, Greek Debt-EU Tensions, ISIS Atrocities-U.S. Policy, Iran Nuke Talks, and U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Wins World Cup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the shooting death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by an illegal alien and the controversy over U.S. and San Francisco illegal immigration policy; unsealed testimony from Bill Cosby in which he admits he’d given Quaaludes to women in the past in order to have sex with them; the ongoing financial turmoil in the EU and Greece over the latter’s inability to repay debt to the IMF; more atrocities perpetrated by ISIS and the U.S. military policy in Iraq and Syria; the ongoing nuclear talks between the U.S. and Iran; and the World Cup victory by the U.S. Women’s Soccer team were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Baltimore Protests Turn Violent. Owing to that fact, Hearst talker WBAL-AM, Baltimore advanced yesterday (Monday, 4/27) to “continuous coverage,” after a weekend of “extensive coverage.” According to WBAL-AM president and general manager Cary Pahigian, “We are sharing resources with our sister station, WBAL-TV (Channel 11), which is flying their helicopter almost nonstop. Our goal is to keep the community up-to-the-minute and to provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze the situation with WBAL-AM talk hosts in a responsible manner. It is very fluid, so we are staying nimble and flexible.” The unrest in the Maryland city increased following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died just over one week ago (4/19), after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. At least one Baltimore building has been torched; several of the city’s police cars have been set on fire; and protesters have thrown bricks at Baltimore police officers. Six Baltimore police officers have been seriously injured in Monday’s violence. Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, while Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states every possible resource is being deployed to “gain control of this situation.”
WFAN Sports Giant Mike Francesa Is Extremely Bullish on Radio – Says the Medium Is Here to Stay on Michael Harrison’s “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews WFAN sports talk superstar Mike Francesa on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.” In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Francesa cover a variety of fascinating topics including authenticity in broadcasting, internet critics, digital era audiences, radio versus television, changes in pop culture, the phenomenal growth of sports and the future of radio in a world of screens. Francesa credits the authenticity, for which Harrison praises him, in part, to being on the air an unusually long five-and-a-half hours per day, pointing out that you can’t be live on radio that long every day without being your real self. According to Francesa, one of the big changes faced by hosts in both sports and general talk programming today is the audience has as much, if not more, access to information as you do – which means merely presenting news is not enough. A host’s success is dependent on having an interesting “take” on the events of the day. He says the internet has made it much easier to break into broadcasting but much more difficult to get noticed. Of his critics, he states the worst thing that can happen is to be ignored. “If you are ignored, you are dead.” Francesa tells Harrison that he very seldom responds to his critics – refusing to give them the exposure of his larger platform that they seek. In addition to having a growing national following due to television and radio syndication, Mike Francesa has long been one of the highest profile media figures in New York and has been ranked by TALKERS magazine for the past two years in a row in the #1 spot on its “Heavy Hundred” of sports talk radio (“The 100 Most Important Radio Sports Talk Hosts in America”). After several years of being carried by the YES Network, Francesa’s daily local radio show is presently simulcast nationally on Fox Sports 1. In comparing radio to television, Francesa says, “Television is a director’s medium. Radio is a performer’s medium.” He explains, “Radio is unvarnished. It is visceral. It is emotional. Television is more packaged and homogenized.” Regarding the survival and future of radio, Francesa states, “Radio will be here long, long past us. People have been trying to kill radio since the first days of television. They’ve tried to kill radio 40 different times in multiple generations. They will never kill it because its appeal of being live, local, personal and mobile will never be equaled.” Francesa sees the rise of mobile digital media as actually being a good thing for radio, acknowledging that “radio will change.” He confidently says, “It will be enhanced because of the smart phone. It is the new transistor radio. Who carried a transistor radio for the past 30 years? Now everyone does. THAT is an opportunity!” In describing Mike Francesa, Michael Harrison states, “I know Francesa has his share of critics – but that comes with the territory of being ‘out there’ the way he is and being a compelling radio talk show host in the modern era, sports or otherwise. What makes him so successful is he has that special ‘something’ that only a handful of performers have ever had in this business – he rises above technique! All he needs to do is bring his authentic, unique personhood to the airwaves each time he’s on and that – at least to this point – is enough. He is one of my handful of all-time favorites and I am delighted that he is still going strong.” To listen to Mike Francesa on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports from Nepal for Westwood One. Internationally known medical doctor and media figure Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Nepal doing both media work and helping doctors there deal with the overwhelming number of casualties from Saturday’s earthquake. In addition to his work covering the aftermath for CNN, Dr. Gupta is also doing live hits for Westwood One affiliate stations. His “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” is syndicated by Westwood One. Dr. Gupta was called into action in the operating room, asked to help perform brain surgery on a 15-year-old girl in Kathmandu after a wall of her family’s home fell on her as she collected water outside.
SiriusXM 2015 Q1 Revenue Up 8%. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM delivered its 2015 first quarter financial numbers today (4/28) and, compared to the same period a year ago, revenue was $1.08 billion – up 8%. Net income was $106 million, up 12% from $94 million in the first quarter of 2014. Net income per diluted common share was $0.02 in the first quarter of 2015 and 2014. Adjusted EBITDA was $399 million in the first quarter of 2015, up 19% from $335 million in the first quarter of 2014. The satcaster says that it added 431,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter, a 61% increase from the 267,000 net new subscribers added in the first quarter of 2014. Sirius CEO Jim Meyer says, “The year is off to a fantastic start at SiriusXM. We are increasing our subscriber guidance to approximately 1.4 million net additions and revenue guidance to approximately $4.47 billion after reporting our best first quarter for self-pay subscriber additions since 2008. Our results demonstrate that SiriusXM’s bundle of live news and sports, exclusive talk and comedy, and curated, commercial-free music is resonating with more and more consumers every day,”
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, WABC, New York-based morning personality Don Imus announced to his listeners his simulcast on cable’s Fox Business Network will end on May 29. The program has been airing on both since 2009. Though Imus didn’t elaborate on the reason for the change, The New York Daily News reports Imus and wife Deirdre plan to spend the summer at their new ranch in Texas and that property has no TV uplink facilities. Read the Daily News story here…..Atlanta real estate broker Bryan Crabtree is adding a daily show on Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” debuting May 4 and airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Crabtree and his wife Mackenzie have been hosting the “Housedog.com Real Estate Show” on both WAFS and sister news/talk WGKA on weekends and that show will continue on both outlets. WAFS station manager Adam Wattenbarger says, “We are so excited to bring Bryan aboard to add to our live and local lineup. biz 1190 is committed to giving the Atlanta community something we’ve been lacking for years – real talk about real issues affecting our neighborhoods.”…..Sports talk personality Tim Brando is wrapping his daily, eponymous show heard on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel. The final show is this Thursday. Brando will continue to be heard on the radio via FOX Sports Radio as he’ll handle play-by-play for college football and basketball as well as the network’s coverage of this June’s US Open golf tournament…..The program “Entertainment This Week” is joining the America’s Talk Radio Network effective May 3. “Mr. Hollywood” Shannon Rose and co-host James Lowe will discuss Hollywood gossip, comics, movies, television, pro-wrestling, and so much more during the “fastest hour on national radio.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Helps Raise Funds for Accessible Playground Equipment. Last Saturday, Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee unveiled new accessible playground equipment at a local elementary school for which the station helped raise funds. The need for the equipment came after the station learned of eight-year-old Ben Nelson who uses a wheelchair due to his Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Ben’s family began raising funds for the equipment and WTMJ joined forces with the family and was able to – through the help of listeners – raise $50,000. WTMJ Radio VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ firmly believes we do well by doing good. We serve Wisconsin – and we’re getting behind our air personalities by giving them a month where we use our resources to give back to our community. [Morning host] Jodi Becker is first on our team to lead in this new community betterment initiative. We are pleased to help – and we thank our listeners and great businesses for helping to build this wonderful playground.”
Limbaugh and Mahindra Partner on Tractor Giveaway. For the second year in a row, Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA have joined together to give away a Mahindra eMax 22HST with loader to an active duty service member or U.S. military veteran. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26. Last year, more than 4,500 service men and women entered for an opportunity to win a Mahindra tractor. It was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Petzinger of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who has served his country for 25 years in the Army.
Music and Pop Culture Figure Andrew W.K. to Host Weekly Show on TheBlaze Radio Network. New to the weekend lineup at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is the show “America W.K.,” hosted by musician, writer, TV host and lecturer Andrew W. K. TheBlaze Radio Network says the show will be a “raw and penetrating discussion of what it is to be alive – meaning, motivation, mindset, and making dreams come true, all included in a celebration of life itself – and all with a positive and honest outlook. Andrew will also field questions and input from the audience, adding an engaging interactive component.” Andrew W.K. is probably most known for his 2001 rock album titled, I Get Wet, the cover of which featured a photo of him with a bloody nose. During his musical career he’s penned a number of rock anthems that have appeared in video games, movies and as pro sports team themes. Andrew W.K. (pictured here at left with Glenn Beck at right) says, “When Glenn asked me to do my own radio show on TheBlaze, I was shocked but excited, as I knew he would allow me the unrestrained freedom to say exactly what I wanted. I’m very dedicated to exploring and learning from different people in different places, and always with an open heart. If people never went outside their own box, life would be boring. After all, why would I only want to talk with people who already think exactly like me?”
Baltimore Protests, White House Correspondents Dinner, Bush Criticism of Obama Foreign Policy, Nepal Earthquake Aftermath, SCOTUS Hears Same-Sex Marriage Argument, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, James Holmes Trial Begins, and the Bruce Jenner Transgender Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). The intensifying, violent protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody; the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and President Obama’s performance; former President George W. Bush comments on Obama Administration’s foreign policy; the devastation in Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments as anti-gay marriage statutes in four states are challenged; ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation financial operations; the opening of the trial of Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes; and the chatter about Bruce Jenner’s sex change procedure and his recent interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
News/Talk Off to Strong 2015 Start in Brew Town. While taking heed of the standard disclaimers about putting too much stock into Nielsen Audio’s 6+ Mon.-Sun. numbers when judging news/talk stations, it’s still pretty impressive that Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ and iHeartMedia’s WISN combined for a 16.8 share (AQH share, persons 6+, Mon.-Sun. 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight, February 2015 PPM survey). These two news/talk outlets together present some of the nation’s most successful local programming and syndicated talk shows along with a healthy serving of successful sports play-by-play. Certainly, some markets are just good news/talk markets due to demographics, history, political intrigue, heritage signals and successful sports franchises. And, yes, Milwaukee fits that mold. But care has to be taken to give credit to the programmers and air talent (both talk hosts and news personnel) who make these stations sound like Milwaukee. By the estimation of TALKERS editors, the triumvirate of Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner (both at WTMJ) and Mark Belling (at WISN) is worthy of being singled out for praise. (Also noteworthy and heard on WISN is WIBA, Madison-based host Vicki McKenna.) These personalities have contributed heavily to their stations’ success. For the last six PPM surveys – October 2014 through February 2015 – WTMJ has scored between 8.8 and 10.9 (persons 6+), while WISN has notched from 4.3 and 6.5. There’s no guaranty of continued success in the radio business but with the local talent on board these signals and Wisconsin appearing to remain in the nation’s political spotlight as long as Scott Walker is in the governor’s office, the smart money will remain on both of these stations. For related data on the entire news/talk format, see the latest news/talk format PPM analysis from TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian here.
It’s Back to Music Radio for Mancow. As has been reported for several weeks now but just officially confirmed by Cumulus Media over the weekend, Erich Mancow Muller will assume morning drive duties on the company’s WLUP-FM, Chicago “Classic Rock 97.9 The Loop” effective March 30. After winning the “listener-generated morning show talent search,” Mancow will return to the Chicago airwaves to produce the entertainment-based “Mancow Morning Show on 97.9 The Loop.” Show cast members will include: Al Roker, Jr., Luv Cheeze and Cathy Vlahogiannis, providing the female prospective with Carrie Ann DeYoung, as well as new talent Abe Kanan, famous for his show on SiriusXM. Cumulus says that “after a month of on-air auditions by multiple candidates vying to host mornings on ‘The Loop,’ Mancow garnered an impressive listener response to The Loop’s Morning Show Web Survey during his five-day run. Mancow brought back the funny and served up the fast-paced entertaining show that put him on the map with Chicago radio listeners from 1994 to 2006. Fans of the original “Mancow Madhouse” came out of the woodwork to show their support, and thousands of positive comments flooded the station website. Comparing the voting traffic to the other candidates, it was no contest: Mancow won the ‘election’ in a landslide.” After leaving Emmis and former alternative WKQX in 2006, Mancow reinvented himself as a conservative talk show host and was syndicated by TRN-FM for a number of years. Speaking about his new gig, Mancow comments, “This is my final act because I don’t believe I’ll ever top this! Chicago is a tough city for commuters and our ONLY goal with this show is to provide an escape and make our listeners laugh. There will be radio theatre. We will be three-dimensional and break out of the speaker. This show will pop like no other. We believe it will cut through the clutter and seize an audience that hasn’t been served in years. Cumulus and John Dickey brought me back into radio. He is a leader I can follow into this great radio battle to victory. This guy is committed to talent and committed to winning. It doesn’t matter how much you love radio (and I do); if you don’t have the right people around you, you are doomed. Finally, I have my dream team cast of characters and a company that actually wants to win. Lately in radio it seems like people are listless and don’t know what to do. That is not the case with ‘The Loop.’ We have a direction and we know where we’re going. This is the most exciting time ever.”
Eric Von Joins Lineup at Urban Talker WNOV, Milwaukee. Spoken-word and urban music outlet WNOV, Milwaukee is owned by Courier Communications Corp. – publisher of the market’s African American newspaper the Milwaukee Courier. The station announces it is adding local radio personality Eric Von to its programming lineup, hosting the 7:00 am to 9:00 am daily show beginning April 6. Von had been an air personality at WMCS, Milwaukee – a former urban-formatted station – before that station’s format flip in February of 2013. WNOV general manager Sandra Robinson comments, “We’re excited to have Eric Von join the lineup. He brings to progressive radio his own unique style that engages audiences in calm and rational tones. Eric’s ability to raise awareness among listeners and keep them tuned in to those issues that are important in their lives is critical in a city where so many feel left out and ignored.”
Hedgecock Gives Way to Benson on Radio America. After many successful years in national syndication – which followed a long reign as the king of talk radio in San Diego, Rodger Hedgecock is ending his daily long-form radio show to focus on his work as a TV commentator and elections coverage specialist for KFMB-TV, San Diego “CBS 8” and his production of the two daily reports he does for KFMB, San Diego. Radio America COO Mike Paradiso states, “Roger has been a strong leader in Radio America’s lineup for years and I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication. He will be missed.” Taking over Hedgecock’s nationally syndicated program is Chad Benson, whom Radio America describes as “a rising star from the Next Generation of talk hosts.” Benson debuts on March 30 from home base at Alpha Media-owned KUFO, Portland “Freedom 970.” About Benson, Radio America says the 44-year-old is “an accomplished talk show host boasting over 22-years-experience in the entertainment industry. He started in music radio in the 1990s at the legendary KRTH, Los Angeles as the executive producer of the Robert W. Morgan show and has also been featured on Los Angeles radio stations such as KZLA-FM and KNCI-FM and KWOD-FM in Sacramento. Chad has also honed his skills as a voice artist for several Hollywood productions, as fans of ‘Droopy the Dog’ hear Chad’s voice as the signature Hanna-Barbera character.” Alpha Media San Antonio OM/PD Greg Martin says, “Chad Benson is not the usual talk host. His entertaining style and passion for talk radio helped develop him into a great talent. He’s not afraid to go places the average talk host will not tread. Very unique.” Benson’s show will air 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.
Weekends: Healing Talk Radio’s Achilles Heel. In a new article posted today in TALKERS, radio consultant Holland Cooke boldly states: “At too many stations – some with once-proud call letters – weekends are an embarrassment. Through utter neglect, stations injure ratings and leave money on the table.” He goes on to offer advice and insights designed to help programmers and management maximize weekends – including brokered programs – to improve station ratings, revenue and image in the community. He also appears on the latest installment of TalkersTV (upper right column box on every page of Talkers.com) with valuable information about how talk stations can make their Saturday and Sunday programming truly “Solid Gold Weekends.” To see TalkersTV, please check out the upper right box on every page of Talkers.com. To read Cooke’s new column, please click here.
McMahon: Determining How Long it Will Take for a Radio Show to Succeed. Just how long to give a new radio show to “take off” has been a debate in the radio business almost since the medium debuted. All parties would love the answer to be, “almost instantaneous,” but that’s not realistic. Bill McMahon, CEO of The Authentic Personality, writes in a column published in TALKERS magazine today that programmers must get realistic expectations from their superiors. But once the timeline is known, there are things that can be done to make success happen as quickly as possible. “Coaching focused on perfecting talents and strengths and highlighting appealing personal traits will significantly speed up the development process. Nothing slowed the development of the superstars of radio, true originals, like Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, and Larry Lujack more than bad coaching from PDs and management that didn’t recognize and support their unique talents and strengths. Each was fired multiple times. All were told to fit into some current standardized success model and be anything but themselves. They refused. Each had his own instincts and ideas about the kind of show he wanted to do.” Read the rest of this enlightening piece here.
John Dickey and Michael Harrison to Conduct “Fireside Chat” at Talkers New York 2015. The agenda is being set for Talkers New York 2015 and one of the highlights of what promises to be a power-packed day of relevant discussions, presentations, and addresses will be a conversation between Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The presentation will be conducted in the informal, one-on-one “fireside chat” format. John Dickey is responsible for Cumulus’ sales, programming, marketing, promotion and engineering and will be able to offer comments, opinions and information about a wide variety of issues presently facing talk radio, as well as the entire spectrum of radio formats. Conference director Michael Harrison states, “There are few people as ‘plugged into’ both the day-to-day operations as well as the big picture of commercial radio in America today than John Dickey. He has extensive, first-hand knowledge about what’s happening in the business and plays an enormous role in influencing policy – plus he has a true passion for radio and its position in our society. I look forward to this session with enthusiasm and plan on it providing our attendees with a lot of valuable takeaways.” Save the date and register early. The 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention will take place on Friday, June 12, 2015. It will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district.” The all-day event – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm — is again expected to be a quick sellout. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 27. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. Again, an early sellout is expected, so avoid being shut out by registering now! Speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.
Round Four of January PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of January 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was January 1-28. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Salem Incorporates ‘Media’ into New Corporate Name. As a corporation with multiple media platforms, Salem Communications Corporation decides to change its name to Salem Media Group to better reflect “the dynamic growth” of its multi-media business. Salem CEO Ed Atsinger says, “Salem’s mission has always been to serve our two core audiences – Christian and conservative – with engaging and meaningful content. That mission brought us into radio, and it has guided our growth ever since. As more and more of our audience seek new ways to get information and inspiration, we have added new media platforms to our traditional radio offerings. Now nearly one-third of our total revenue comes from non-broadcast sources. This rebranding of Salem acknowledges our evolution and confirms our commitment to serve our market.” Salem says that in addition to its 106 radio stations and syndicated programs, it “owns several of the most influential brands in the Christian and conservative media space, including Crosswalk.com, GodVine.com, Christianity.com, BibleStudyTools.com, TownHall.com, HotAir.com, RedState.com, Human Events.com, the Conservative Book Club, and Regnery Publishing.
Flores Appointed High Desert Broadcasting LSM. Former Lazer Broadcasting Oxnard-Ventura national and regional sales manager Renee Flores joins High Desert Broadcasting as local sales manager for its seven-station cluster in Lancaster, Palmdale, and the Antelope Valley (Southern California). High Desert president Miles Sexton comments that Flores, “brings a rare combination of experience in both product marketing and broadcast sales to this position, along with proven team leadership accomplishments. We are thrilled to have her join our management team to oversee the sales operation of this dominant radio cluster.” Flores points out that she has lived “in this exciting and growing portion of the Los Angeles metro area. It is great to be returning with such a wonderful opportunity to grow and serve the diverse business community here.” Flores’ prior background includes being general sales manager for Lazer Broadcasting’s three Oxnard-Ventura stations, as well as handling sales for the company’s 25 California and Nevada stations. High Desert’s seven stations are KOSS “NewsTalk 1380”; regional Mexican KCEL “Que Buena 96.1”; hot AC KGMX “K-Mix 106.3”; alternative KKZQ “The Edge”; classic rock KQAV “The Quake”; KMVE “Classic Top 40”; and regional Mexican KUTY “La Mera Mera 1470.”
Johnston Joins Westwood One in EVP Role. Joining the company as executive vice president, Midwest division in the network sales department is Doug Johnston. The company says he’ll “oversee revenue development and multi-platform brand integrations across all Westwood One assets, including network sales, spot sales, platform, digital, and events. Johnston is based in Chicago and reports directly to Westwood One president Steve Shaw.” He comes to WW1 from his most recent post as SVP, sales, central region, for Premiere Networks.
Odds & Sods. Adding another daily show to his current role as afternoon drive personality on iHeartMedia’s legendary WHO, Des Moines, is Simon Conway. Today (2/23), he begins hosting the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids…..Fusion and ESPN Radio are announcing an agreement in principle for the former to simulcast the Dan Le Batard radio program beginning this spring. The three-hour broadcast will air weekday afternoons from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.
Cool Job Opportunties. Several outstanding career opportunities are currently open at Journal Broadcast Group‘s news/talk/sports WTMJ, Milwaukee. WTMJ has taken traffic reporting in-house, after working with an outside vendor, and is building its own 24-hour on-air/digital traffic center. There are opportunities for traffic reporters. The station also has a rare opportunity for a sports anchor/sports talk host. WTMJ is also searching for an experienced digital content producer/morning show producer. In sports marketing, WTMJ is adding another sports account manager position to sell Green Bay Packers football and Milwaukee Brewers baseball. See these and other great opportunities at Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee Operations here.