By Mike Kinosian
Now in his mid-50s, the Lafayette, Indiana native and roughly quarter-of-a-century Madison, Wisconsin broadcaster is an ardent Frank Sinatra devotee.
Profound, palpable influence the “Chairman of the Board” has had on Henck’s present professional path is probably best summarized through a two-word 1969 Paul Anka-penned Sinatra anthem.
KMOX, St. Louis Extends Calhoun and Ackerman. St. Louis heritage news/talk KMOX announces it has signed staffers Michael Calhoun and Tom Ackerman to new, multi-year contracts that include some new duties for both. Calhoun and Ackerman are part of the CBS RADIO station’s “Total Information AM” morning drive program – Calhoun as co-host and news reporter and Ackerman as a personality and the station’s sports director. KMOX program director Steve Moore states, “Tom and Michael are talented personalities who play integral roles at the station. Tom was born and raised in St. Louis so reporting the news and sports in the city he loves is a natural progression for him. Michael is an award-winning field reporter who brings a unique voice to KMOX that instantly connects with listeners.” Ackerman expands his role to serve as co-host of “Total Information AM” alongside Debbie Monterrey and Calhoun. Calhoun adds field and spot news reporting to his responsibilities. Calhoun will also continue to serve as KMOX’s lead reporter on St. Louis’ “Start Up, Entrepreneurs and Innovation” initiatives and continue to host “Nothing Impossible,” a show that informs listeners about how innovators are transforming and revitalizing the St. Louis region.
Grayson Exits KMOX; Headed for Crosstown KTRS? A report by Joe Holleman in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Jon Grayson has exited CBS RADIO’s news/talk KMOX where he was hosting the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am show. Grayson’s “Overnight America” show had been syndicated nationally in a deal with Westwood One but that was shut down at the end of 2016. Now, after 16 years at KMOX, Grayson may be headed across the street to news/talker KTRS. Holleman reports that’s the industry chatter. KTRS reportedly has an opening for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show. The station also recently hired former KMOX personality Doug McElvein.
Madison Talk Host Mitch Henck Moves Forward on Digital Platform. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian writes about Madison talk radio personality Mitch Henck – one of a number of personalities cut free with the demise of the progressive talk format on iHeartMedia’s WXXM, Madison last fall. Henck has recently launched the web-based platform MadisonTalks.com, where his program and others continue to provide the market with “outside the box” digital content. Though he was heard on WXXM for years, Henck says his political leanings are not so easily qualified. “I am center-right on economics and more libertarian on social issues. I like splitting hairs and challenging callers to make their argument.” Read the whole story here.
11th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Scheduled for June 28-29. This year’s 11th annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire/Let’s Make America Great Again radio row broadcast will take place on June 28 and 29 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is again producing the event at which talk hosts from across the country will broadcast live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, White House officials and those who live and work along the southern border. FAIR executive director Bob Dane states, “This event has always been about holding our elected leaders accountable and educating the public. In particular, this year, lawmakers must be reminded that Americans strongly support President Trump’s immigration policies. Otherwise, the noise made by vocal special interests – which the mainstream media loves to amplify – will dominate. Talk radio remains the bullhorn of the ‘silent’ majority.” Reservations are required and hosts/producers should contact event manager Cassie Williams at 202-328-7004 or email@example.com to reserve their spot. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering and expenses are taken care of by FAIR. Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews with an expected crowd of 60 talk hosts.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Touts AM Revitalization at NABA Symposium. The new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission addressed the attendees at yesterday’s “Future of Radio and Audio” symposium presented by the North American Broadcasters Association. Among the topics he discussed was AM revitalization. He kicked that off by stating, “It’s no secret that many stations in the AM band are struggling. The band’s overall listenership has declined, and advertising revenues along with it. This stems mainly from the band’s technical problems. Every day, it seems harder to get a quality AM signal.” Pai boiled his solution down to the two-pronged approach of making it easier for AM operators to acquire FM translators and encouraging the activation and use of FM chips in smartphones. Regarding FM translators, Pai said AM station owners have complained that it can be difficult finding a location for translators. “That’s why we’ve proposed a new reform that my fellow Commissioners and I will vote on next week. This measure would give AM stations greater flexibility in siting their translators. It’s a small step that would be a big help to AM broadcasters. This year, we also plan to open two new windows in which AM stations that still don’t have an FM translator can apply directly to the FCC to get one authorized. And we’ll keep working on ways to improve signal quality on the AM band and reduce AM broadcasters’ operating costs.” As for FM chips in smartphones, Pai said he’s against mandating those chips be activated – he’s a free-market guy who doesn’t approve of such a heavy-handed approach, and he thinks it’s outside of the FCC’s purview. He noted that in the U.S., “only about 44% of the top-selling smartphones in the United States have activated FM chips, and the percentage is lower in Canada. By comparison, in Mexico that number is about 80%…[but] despite the low numbers, we are seeing progress; in the last two years, the percentage of top-selling smartphones in the United States that have activated FM chips has risen from less than 25% to 44%.”
Andy Pollin Joins WJFK-FM, Washington for Weekends and Fill-Ins. Washington, DC sports talk personality Andy Pollin is no longer a free agent. The market sports media figure was recently set free by Red Zebra’s WTEM “ESPN 908” after almost 25 years at the signal. Now, he’s being heard on CBS RADIO’s crosstown WJFK-FM on weekends and in fill-in situations. The Washington Post reports that Pollin will host a regular Saturday show with (also former WTEM) personality Thom Loverro from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon starting February 25. WJFK-FM program director Chris Kinard tells the Post, “It just gives us more great talent. You can never have enough good people, and to have someone the caliber of Andy Pollin available is a pretty rare thing. He hasn’t been available for 25 years, because he’s done such a good job. So to have someone like that available, we’d be crazy not to work something out with him.”
WQAM, Miami Re-Ups with the Miami Hurricanes. Miami sports talker WQAM inks a new multi-year deal to continue serving as the flagship station for University of Miami football and men’s basketball. Pictured at the contract signing in Coral Gables on Thursday (2/16) are (from l-r): WQAM program director Ryan Maguire, “The Voice of the Hurricanes” Joe Zagacki, WQAM host Curtis Stevenson, Miami football coach Mark Richt, Miami athletic director Blake James, and WQAM host Joe Rose.
Nielsen: 2016 Election Year Good for News Radio. Ratings giant Nielsen issues data – illustrated in the graphic above – showing the rise in listenership to news radio during the 2016 election year. Nielsen notes that just as in the previous election year of 2012, the number of people tuning in to all-news stations, news/talk stations and public radio NPR affiliates spiked, making it the most-listened-to radio format by persons 6+ in PPM markets during 2016.
Allegations of Trump Campaign’s Russia Connections and Michael T. Flynn’s Resignation Top News Talk Stories for Week of February 13-17. The allegations that members of the Trump campaign were in contact with Russian agents prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration and the subsequent resignation of National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Trump travel ban issue and the related Mexican wall matter. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s contentious relationship with the news media, followed by Andrew Puzder’s withdrawal as nominee for labor secretary 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.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Windy City radio programming pro Patty Martin is joining digital platform AccuRadio to program its world music and Celtic channels. He says she’ll also be involved in programming adult rock and adult alternative formats. Martin – who served in the market programming Hubbard’s classic hits WDRV and CBS RADIO’s triple A WXRT – tells Feder, “It’s all the fun of radio programming without the headaches!”…..KSWD, Los Angeles “100.3 The Sound” midday personality “Uncle Joe” Benson signs a new contract to continue with the Entercom classic rock station. Program director Dave Beasing says, “Joe is the best-known and most-loved classic rock DJ in Los Angeles. The reason is simple. He’s literally written the book on classic rock, and he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.”…..A new Sunday night show dedicated to the women of alternative rock is launching on Cumulus Media’s alternative KCJK, Kansas City “X1015” featuring host Lauren O’Neil…..iHeartMedia Fort Myers announces media personalities Lulu and Lala are joining hot AC WZJZ “Y100.1, 90s to Now” as 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight hosts effective immediately. The station says, “The ‘Y100.1’ night show with Lulu and Lala will feature the dynamic pair’s unique take on pop culture news and fun antics with listeners, along with special celebrity guest interviews and Y100.1’s unique blend of today’s hits and 90’s throwbacks.”
Feature Story: Internet Radio’s Backbone. As far as TALKERS magazine is aware, nobody gets audio content on the Internet with the ease and sophistication (not to mention affordable rates) the way Backbone Networks does. In this piece published Friday (2/10), managing editor Mike Kinosian delves into how Backbone – in the words of president and CEO Rich Cerny, “the only completely integrated radio station service comprising live production, automation, storage, streaming, syndication, live assist, and call-in phone system,” works for content creators. Plus, interwoven into this feature is how Cerny’s past experience in fiber optics and television broadcast production played into the creation of Backbone Networks. Read it all here.
Hillman to Lead Sales at Beasley Media’s Southwest Florida Group. Sales pro Allyson Hillman is named director of sales for Beasley Media Group’s Southwest Florida cluster that includes news/talk WJBX, sports talk WWCN, CHR WXKB, rock WRXK, adult contemporary WJPT, and Spanish music W251AL. Beasley says, “Allyson brings three decades of broadcasting and advertising to this position. She served in management for 10 years in Detroit radio and has relocated to Southwest Florida from Savannah-Hilton Head. Allyson has worked in the radio, television, Internet, digital and outdoor industries, including careers as retail sales manager, local and general sales manager, director of business development and director of sales.”
Steve Deace Show Thriving on CRTV. In our recent reporting Salem Radio Network’s addition of Chicago-based talk host Joe Walsh to its evening lineup, TALKERS wrote that the Steve Deace show had been bumped from the schedule by Walsh. But Deace tells us there’s more detail to how the change took place. Deace’s show is, and has been, produced by Conservative Review TV (CRTV). Late last fall, CRTV and Deace chose to move the show from SRN to CRTV’s own platform. That initiated the change in SRN’s evening schedule. Deace says, “Fifteen months ago, we debuted on Salem with 11 affiliates. We’re leaving with approximately 70. They did a great job for us, never interfered with my content on the air, and I have no complaints whatsoever. I still have the same high regard for [Salem SVP] Phil Boyce I’ve always had.”
TALKERS News Notes. The FCC filing for Michael Crute’s purchase of WRRD-AM, Waukesha (Milwaukee market) from Good Karma Broadcasting is public, so we now know the price of the signal is $767,000. Crute, who with partner Dominic Salvia co-hosts the progressive talk show “Devil’s Advocate,” is programming a
progressive talk lineup on the station. The duo was formerly based at iHeartMedia’s WXXM, Madison, Wisconsin when it was progressive talk outlet “92.1 The Mic.” The station flipped formats after the holidays. The “Devil’s Advocate” airs in afternoon drive on WRRD…..Berkshire Broadcasting’s news/talk WLAD-AM, Danbury, Connecticut is now heard in the market on the FM dial after the station adds translator W231DJ at 94.1 FM to the station’s broadcast.
Trump’s Travel Ban Strategy, ICE Raids/Cost of Mexico Wall, Russia-Snowden Relationship, Flynn-Russia Talks Controversy, North Korea ICBM Tests, ‘SNL’ Trump Sketches, Nordstrom-Ivanka Trump Flap, Yale Changes College Name, and Al Jarreau Dead at 76 Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The ongoing legal clash over President Donald Trump’s travel order and the possibility he writes a new order this week; the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau begins raids to capture “known criminals” and the related issue of the U.S.-Mexico wall and Trump’s promise to reduce the cost; conflicting reports about whether Russia will turn Edward Snowden over to the U.S. to curry favor with President Trump; the status of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn over reports he engaged with Russia prior to Trump being sworn in as president; the test of a mid-range ICBM by North Korea; the numerous sketches poking fun at Trump and administration officials on “Saturday Night Live”; Nordstrom’s dropping of the Ivanka Trump lines; Yale changes name of Calhoun College due to John C. Calhoun’s advocacy of slavery; and musician Al Jarreau’s death at age 76 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dr. Dave Returns to Dayton Air on 80s Rock WZLR. Radio personality Dave Gross, a.k.a. Dr. Dave, is back on the radio in Dayton on Cox Media Group’s 80s-intensive classic hits simulcast WZLR/W266BG. Back in the late 1980s, Dr. Dave was the ringleader of the “Z93 Morning Zoo” on then-CHR WGTZ – the program that dominated the morning ratings in the market. His new show, “Dr. Dave and the Eagle Morning Zoo,” is the first show with a live personality on the station. In a piece in the Springfield News-Sun, Cox Ohio VP of marketing Nick Roberts says the Dayton market is one of the biggest in the nation for 80s rock. See the whole story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At its urban contemporary WHQT, Miami “HOT 105,” Cox Media Group announces syndicated personality Michael Baisden is taking over the afternoon drive show, effective February 20. WHQT director of branding and programming Phil Michaels-Trueba states, “Michael was a part of the ‘Hot 105’ super brand from 2007 to 2013 with a proven track record of success. I am happy to welcome Michael, George Willborn, and Tamara G back home to our already stellar lineup of icons.”…..iHeartMedia names Todd Zarnitz, a.k.a. Carson, afternoon drive personality for CHR stations KPWK, Seattle “Power 93.3” and KKRZ, Portland “Z100.” Pacific Northwest Region SVP of programming Tim Herbster states, “We are excited to add Carson to our teams here in Portland and Seattle. His passion, enthusiasm and wealth of experience will be a great addition to help us grow ‘Z100’ and ‘Power 93.3.’”…..In Indianapolis, WLHK “HANK FM” afternoon personality JD Cannon announces he’s retiring from the station – and from full-time work in radio – on April 28. Cannon will remain with the Emmis station as “brand ambassador.” In announcing his semi-retirement, Cannon says he’s been blessed to have had a 44-year career on country music…..Townsquare Media announces programming pro Dusty Hayes is assuming the operations manager role at its Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana station group that includes news/talk KEEL, country KXKS, adult contemporary KVKI, CHR KRUF, and rock KTUX…..Townsquare Media names Braden Smith operations manager for its Amarillo, Texas cluster consisting of news/talk KIXZ, country KATP, adult contemporary KPRF, hot AC KMXJ, and CHR KXSS. He’ll serve as brand manager for KATP. He comes to Townsquare from his previous position with Alpha Media country outlet WLFV, Richmond “The Wolf.”
What’s Next for Talk Radio? At this week’s post-election editorial meeting, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison shared his response to the most-frequently-asked question he has answered since it was announced on Election Night that Donald Trump cracked the 270 electoral votes threshold – What’s next for talk radio? Harrison says, “The answer is simple… talk radio will continue to talk about whatever is happening in society.” Harrison adds, “When things of common interest stop happening, well…that will mark the end of talk radio. Until then, you can be sure this format will keep on yapping!” According to Harrison, “It is important for talk broadcasters not to allow SWA (‘spoken word audio’) – the broader genre to which talk radio belongs – to become synonymous in the public’s perception with any singular subject (such as ‘politics’) or with any specific take on a subject (such as ‘conservative’ politics). This election did talk radio and its hosts a big favor by shaking up dissent among the ranks and even putting broadcasters in challenging struggles with their core audiences.” Harrison strongly suggests, “Respectful disagreement and unpredictability in search of truth are the engines that power not only talk radio – but democracy in general. They key word here, however, is ‘respectful.’”
NAB Show New York. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in New York City reporting from the second year of the NAB Show New York. He notes that although this is not a radio conference, there’s a lot there from which radio can learn. Cooke reports that Facebook’s Bob Gruters said the following: “‘Mobile has changed us’ and ‘mobile has changed business’ he proclaimed. When he shared that the average person looks at his/her smartphone 30 times a day — and young people 127 times – I felt young again.” Read Cooke’s report here.
iHeartMedia Madison Bids Adieu to Progressive Talker “92.1 The Mic.” Management isn’t saying anything about WXXM, Madison – the former progressive talker “92.1 The Mic” and now, all-Christmas as “92.1 BEST FM” – other than it’s Christmas music through December 25. There’s no hint of what the format might be after that. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that mid-morning host Mitch Henck says he’s not too worried about losing his slot on the station – he streams his show online and says he’s working on getting more radio affiliates. Ditto for the afternoon program “Devil’s Advocate” with hosts Dominic Salvia and Mike Crute. Their show is streamed and the paper reports they plan to debut on 20 new affiliates in January. “92.1 The Mic” had bounced around in the Nielsen ratings (12+) recently, notching a 1.7 share in the Fall 15 book, a 2.9 in the Winter 16 book, a 1.5 share in the Spring 16 survey, and a 2.1 in the recent Summer 16 book.
Comic and Talk Host Steven Crowder Joins CRTV. Former Fox News Channel contributor, comic, and talk show host Steven Crowder is joining media company CRTV. CRTV is producing the CRTV Digital Network that is the home of the video talk show LevinTV – hosted by Mark Levin – and new shows soon to come hosted by Michelle Malkin and Mark Steyn. Now, CRTV announces the “Louder with Crowder” host – “notorious for pushing the comedic envelope and ‘triggering’ modern leftists” – is joining the network. CRTV chief content officer Chris Crane says, “We are excited to have Steven Crowder on the CRTV team. He is a rare talent that can entertain and educate at the same time. He is very popular with young audiences, and reaches them in a unique way that very few conservatives can.”
PodcastOne Launches ‘The Chick Show.’ Leading podcast platform PodcastOne announces the launch of “The Chick Show,” featuring actresses (and working moms) Lisa Ann Walter – “Bruce Almighty,” “The Parent Trap” – and Rosa Blasi – “Strong Medicine” “The Thundermans.” PodcastOne says, “With a 15-year friendship under their belts, the hosts let loose and help each other through cheating husbands, online dating, falling in love, vacations with kids, single-parenting, blended families, and most importantly, balancing life as working moms – all in front of an audience who can learn from the duo’s experiences and advice.” The first guests to drop by the show are The View’s Sherri Shephard, and Chrissy Metz from the critically acclaimed NBC-TV show, “This Is Us.”
FOX Sports Radio Brings Chris Broussard Aboard. Sports media pro Chris Broussard joins FOX Sports Radio as a host, opinionist and NBA analyst. The company says that in addition to making frequent appearances across the network as a guest and contributor, Broussard will launch the first of two weekend programs this Saturday, November 12. Co-hosted by FSR personality Brian Noe, the two will broadcast from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET on 200 stations nationwide, plus several digital platforms, including iHeartRadio. Broussard will add a Sunday radio program in 2017 and will continue his role as FS1’s new NBA analyst. Broussard says, “I want to thank FOX Sports Radio and FS1 for providing me with the platform to share my sports views and opinions, which have been developed over my 20 years of covering professional sports, particularly the NBA. I can’t wait to hit the airwaves in my new role with Brian Noe. Together, we’ll bring listeners a show that is smart, entertaining and insightful.”
Odds & Sods. The ad sales firm Regional Reps Corp. announces the hiring of Grace Agostino as East Coast regional manager. New York-based Agostino will cover the East Coast territory for Regional Reps, calling on clients, stations, and advertising agencies. The firm says Agostino started her sales career with Katz Media Sales in 1996. She’s also worked for iHeartMedia, Interep, and SBS…..Westwood One announces new partnerships with Nashville-based musician, TV personality and podcaster Caroline Hobby and KQRS, Minneapolis morning host Tom Barnard. Both have joined the network’s podcast and on-demand platform via audioBoom. As part of the deal, Westwood One is providing exclusive ad sales representation for “Hyper Caroline Hobby” and “The Tom Barnard Podcast.”…..Galaxy Communications CEO Ed Levine is named chairman of The New York State Broadcasters Association for 2017. NYSBA president and executive director David Donovan says, “NYSBA is fortunate to have the most respected and dynamic executives in broadcasting serving on its board of directors. Through their leadership, NYSBA will help ensure that radio and television stations in New York meet the challenges of today’s hyper competitive marketplace.”…..College hoops expert Seth Davis is producing an eponymous podcast that’s being made available via a partnership between DGital Media and Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated Group…..Pictured at left is Cumulus Media Des Moines director of marketing, NTR & integrated sales Elizabeth Stewart at last Sunday’s world record-setting “FriendsGiving” event. Held in conjunction with Prairie Trail and Jethro’s Barbecue, more than 600 people came out to set a Guinness World Record for the “Largest Number of People Breaking Bread” and enjoyed a traditional holiday meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie, as well as games and live music. The event benefited Hope Ministries, which feeds about 450 people a day. Image: WOI-TV.
Trump Defeats Clinton in Presidential Race and GOP Retaining Control of House and Senate Dominated Discussion on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (11/9). The victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton for president and the GOP’s retaining control over the U.S. House and Senate were the stories that dominated the discussion on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Talk Host Dominic Salvia Wins $75k Settlement from Wisconsin in Protest Arrest Case. Radio personality Dominic Salvia – co-host of the “Devil’s Advocates” radio show heard on iHeartMedia’s progressive talker WXXM-FM, Madison “92.1 The Mic” with Mike Crute – won a settlement of $75,000 from the State of Wisconsin in connection with his arrest covering protests in 2011. Salvia contends his arrest by State Capitol Police while photographing the arrests of protesters was unlawful since he was a journalist covering – not participating in – the protests. Crute tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Salvia keeps $27,500 and attorney Jeff Scott Olson gets $47,500. Olson is also promising to file a class action suit against the state representing some 100 protesters relative to the 2011 arrests. Read the Journal Sentinel coverage here.
iHeartMedia Promotes SVP/Midwest Programming Tony Banks to Central Division Director of Talent Development. Effectively immediately, Tony Banks moves up from his SVP/Midwest programming to the new director of talent development for the Central Division. The company notes that in the Central Division, it has more than 300 radio station brands spanning 52 markets. Banks’ duties will include discovering and recruiting new on-air talent as well as coaching, training and mentoring existing talent. He’s expected to work closely with Tony Coles, EVP of programming for the Central Division; and Dennis Clark, VP talent development for iHeartMedia. Coles states, “The role we created for Tony Banks reflects iHeartMedia’s continued commitment to investing in and growing our on-air talent. Banks’ experience as both a major market talent and a programmer makes him a natural choice. He is a gifted and passionate talent coach, and Dennis Clark and I look forward to working closely with Tony to maximize the potential of our talent.”
Kimberly Collelo Named Executive Producer of Bubba the Love Sponge Show. The Bubba Radio Network names Kimberly “Jabberjaw” Collelo the new executive producer of the “Bubba The Love Sponge Show.” Bubba notes that Collelo – who goes by the name “Jabberjaw” on-air and is also known as “Milwaukee Kim” on Bubba’s “Uncensored Show” which she co-hosts alongside Bubba every week on Bubba Army Radio – is the first female executive producer in the history of the show. “This is my first female executive producer that I’ve ever had in thirty years in radio. Maybe that is the missing element – Kim’s womanly touch might be exactly what the BRN needs.”
iHeartMedia Alerts SEC It May End Discussions with Debt Holders to Amend Credit Terms. Parent company iHeartCommunications filed an 8-K report with the Securities Exchange Commission stating that it has been negotiating with certain debt holders to restructure said debt and, after a series of proposals and counterproposals, the company says, “Given the significant gap between the proposals, the Company is assessing whether it will continue discussions.” Bloomberg is reporting that the debt holders it’s been negotiating with are led by Franklin Advisers Inc. – which holds $6.3 billion of term loans – to restructure about $10 billion in debt that’s coming due over the next three years. iHM spokeswoman Wendy Goldberg told Bloomberg, “We continue to evaluate various opportunities to strengthen our capital structure for the benefit of our stakeholders, and we remain focused on positioning iHeartMedia for long-term growth.” Bloomberg reports that iHM and Franklin have been negotiating an interest rate cut tied to an extension of the term with the guarantee that Franklin would be made whole at the expense of unsecured bonds, if necessary. See the Bloomberg piece here.
Benghazi Report/Hillary Emails Investigation, ‘Brexit’ Aftermath, the Presidential Race, Istanbul Terror Attack, SCOTUS Overturns McDonnell Conviction, Rio Olympics Troubles, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/28). The release of the final GOP Congressional investigation into the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, tied with the ongoing FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; the effects on world markets and global political relationships after Britain’s vote to leave the EU; the activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the deadly suicide bomber attacks on the Istanbul airport; the Supreme Court’s overturning of the bribery conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell; Zika virus concerns and infrastructure troubles affecting the Rio De Janeiro Summers Olympics; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cleveland GOP Convention to Feature ‘Largest Talk Radio Operation in History.’ The editorial director for radio for the GOP convention in Cleveland is talk radio pro Scott Hogenson, who says the 2016 Republican Convention will include the largest talk radio operation in convention history. Hogenson says, “As of June 29, there were more than 140 confirmed radio broadcast operations for the convention, and more will be confirmed this week. The previous record for radio participation was the 1996 convention in San Diego, with about 135 broadcasters on what was then called radio row. The previous convention in Tampa included about 110 talk broadcasters. Broadcasters originating from media row in 2016 will reflect the entire spectrum of interests and opinion: conservatives, liberals, libertarians, even sports radio will originate programming from Cleveland’s media row. It reflects the changes in media over the years and combines radio, streaming TV, blogs, websites, Internet radio, and broadcast television.” Hogenson is credited for developing the first-ever GOP radio row at the 1992 convention in Houston and has worked at every convention since. He adds, “It’s a great honor to be part of this historic event and we’re putting together a great radio operation. It’s really exciting to be working with a terrific crew and a record number of broadcasters for this convention.” Hogenson says the deadline for applying for credentials to cover the convention has expired. However, if shows not attending the convention are looking for interviews during the convention July 18 through 21, they can call him at 703-967-6298 or email Hogie57@gmail.com.
Odds & Sods. The progressive politics talk show “The Young Turks” – hosted by Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian – is now available via audio aggregator TuneIn. The audio version of the show that airs on YouTube via TYTNetwork.com will appear the following morning at 9:00 am ET. “The Young Turks” started on radio in 2002…..Westwood One and Veritone Media announce a new service for local radio stations called Veritone…powered by Westwood One. It’s a cloud-based, cognitive audio platform that automates the capture and tagging of content and live read endorsements, making them accessible to advertisers in near real-time. The companies say the “user-friendly platform provides a dashboard to access all of a station’s programming – captured to the cloud – that is transcribed to text, searchable, and sharable with a one-click audio link and audience metrics….. jācapps announces that is introducing App EverywhereSM, that allows mobile apps for radio stations to be coded to appear in automobiles that have Android Auto, SmartDeviceLink and, pending approval from Apple, its CarPlay system. jācapps COO Bob Kernen says, “Our mobile app team has been dedicated to developing solutions that will ensure that broadcasters have presence in these entertainment systems. It’s a major priority for us. Jacobs Media has invested a lot of time in this space, including the DASH Conference. This is an incredibly important opportunity for broadcasters and we’re extremely pleased that we were able to crack the code.”…..Cox Media Group’s Julia Wallace is heading into academia. The current Ohio market vice president – who announced her retirement from the company earlier this month – is being named as the Frank Russell Chair for the Business of Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Wallace will begin teaching classes on the future of news, new business models and innovative ways of thinking about journalism at the Cronkite School in January.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk (Part 1). TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents the third in a four-part series of reports analyzing the performances of spoken-word radio stations based on January 2015 PPM survey data from Nielsen Audio. This story focuses on commercial news/talk stations. Kinosian writes that the first reports published “presented overviews of the truly astonishing January 2015 PPM ratings performances turned in by news and sports outlets. Those extraordinary stats notwithstanding (especially with all-news), we have quite possibly saved the best for last in analyzing the most omnipresent genre under the spoken-word umbrella, talk stations. For several reasons, we have separated “talk” into two groups – commercial, and non-commercial/public. The January 2015 ratings overview of commercial talkers appears today, while the companion piece for non-commercial/public talk stations will be posted tomorrow. Either way you slice it though, it was a strong sweep for both groups and the numbers will confirm that as being the height of understatement.” Check out the analysis here.
Covering the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial. With one of the nation’s most-watched trials beginning in Boston, CBS RADIO’s WBZ-AM, “Newsradio 1030” is announcing its coverage plans that include a weekly podcast produced by WBZ reporters Lana Jones and Carl Stevens called, “The Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Podcast: U.S. v. Tsarnaev.” The station says, “WBZ NewsRadio 1030 will have comprehensive reporting in newscasts throughout the day as well as digital and social media real-time reporting while court is in session. In an effort to reach those listeners who need their news ‘on-demand,’ WBZ debuts today a weekly podcast of the highlights of the ground-breaking trial.” The podcast will be published each Friday morning. Pictured here outside the WBZ Mobile Newsroom are (from l-r): Stevens, Jones, and studio producer Peter Clarke.
Mitch Henck Returns to Madison Airwaves with iHeartMedia. After exiting iHeartMedia’s news/talk WIBA, Madison in June of last year, Henck began producing his own daily webcast. Now, he returns to the Madison airwaves on WIBA’s sister WXXM-FM daily 8:00 am to 11:00 am. Additionally, he’ll also be available via the iHeartRadio platform. Henck says, “I’m thrilled to be returning to the iHeartMedia airwaves where I got my start in talk radio.” The station says that “politics, culture, history, media, education, religion, along with Mitch’s favorites – standup comedy, professional golf, and college basketball – will be daily fare on 92.1FM beginning Monday, March 23.”
Chris Mac to Exit WGAN/WZAN Brand Manager Post; Plum Gig Opens. After some 25 years with Saga Communications’ talk stations WGAN and WZAN in Portland Maine, brand manager and news director Chris Mac is exiting the radio business for a post at a local financial institution. That means a really cool gig is opening and here’s how Saga is advertising it: Portland Brand Manager/News Director. Saga Communications has an opening to lead its top news/talk radio WGAN and its sister brands in beautiful Portland, Maine. Successful candidates will exhibit an ability to lead a five-person news department, develop and coach local talent, direct programming, develop and curate a contemporary sound for the entire station in delivery and production. Please send your resume and supporting material to Bob Adams, general manager, Portland Radio Group Badams@portlandradiogroup.com. EOE/MF.
Radio Apps Built by Radio People. In a story published today (3/5), TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay focuses on a company that is designing and servicing apps for radio stations that are affordable and custom-tailored to each client’s station. Jack of Trade Apps is headed by principals Paul Varga and Andrew Davis. Varga tells McKay, “Our app is developed for the traditional radio station cluster or stand-alone. With every app there’s a content management system, and it is an extension of the unique brand you are building. We’ve priced it for the independent owner or cluster or regional owner to make it affordable. We know budgets are tight and the importance of return on investment is paramount.” Read more about Jack of Trade Apps here.
Netanyahu Speech, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, SCOTUS ObamaCare Hearing, Homeland Security Department Funding, Amnesty Issue, and 2016 Presidential Prospects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). Wednesday’s speech before Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Iran nuclear threat; the investigation in Hillary Clinton’s using private email for State Department business; today’s hearing at the Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act; the funding of the Homeland Security Department through September and John Boehner’s decision to not fight the amnesty order via funding; and the potential candidates for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Boston Marathon Bombing Spectator Suing Glenn Beck for Defamation with Malice. Almost a year after the Boston Marathon bombing, spectator Abdulrahman Alharbi – a then-20-year-old student – is suing Glenn Beck, TheBlaze Inc., Mercury Radio Arts and Premiere Networks in United States District Court, District of Massachusetts for defamation and slander. The complaint states that Alharbi was questioned by authorities investigating the attack, he allowed them to search his apartment and officials quickly concluded he had no involvement. At that point, other media reports ceased. The complaint continues, saying that Beck, with the active participation of the distributor defendants, repeatedly and falsely identified Alharbi as an active participant in the crimes, repeatedly questioned the motives of federal officials in failing to pursue or detain him and repeatedly and falsely accused Alharbi of being a criminal who had funded the attacks and says the statements were made widely and publicly and caused grave injury to the plaintiff. Alharbi says he’s received numerous messages, internet postings and other communications based on Beck’s false statements accusing him of being a murderer, child killer and terrorist. He’s requesting a jury trial and is seeking unspecified damages, interest, costs and attorney’s fees.
Rep. Mike Rogers Talks About Radio Gig on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers shocked the political world last week when he announced he would not seek re-election in the fall and will begin a radio career with Cumulus Media after his term ends. It was politically surprising because he is chair of the powerful House Intelligence Committee. As radio industry watchers see it, he’s certainly a known commodity in the political news/talk scene due to his frequent media appearances, but many are viewing his deal with Cumulus with a wait-and-see attitude. In general, politicians-turned-radio-hosts don’t have a great track record of long-term success in the business. On yesterday’s “Fox News Sunday,” Rogers spoke about the radio gig, telling host Chris Wallace, “You know, it was an interesting opportunity when you see the level of debate today, Chris, on national security issues and foreign policy. It worries me for the future of this country like nothing I’ve ever seen. So, when someone walked in and said ‘Hey, we’re to give the opportunity to have a discussion in people’s cars, living rooms and kitchen, every single day from California to Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina, we think that you can change the needle on this debate.’ And I thought long and hard about it and I think they’re right…this is a great program, it’s a sophisticated program, that you have, but we need to broaden that audience to have discussion so that we can put America on solid footing as we move forward in a very troubling world.”
WOR, New York Names Pete McCarthy Host of Mets Show. The New York Mets open the 2014 campaign at home today (3/31) at Citi Field versus the Nationals and begin their first season being heard in NYC on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR, New York. As part of Mets programming, the station announces Pete McCarthy will begin hosting “The WOR Sports Zone,” tonight from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The new sports talk show will be heard weeknights on Mets game days before and after each game. McCarthy joins WOR after more than eight years at MLB.com and five years at SNY-TV, where his duties included sports anchor, play-by-play announcer, color analysis, radio talk show host and sideline reporter. McCarthy says, “I am very excited to be joining WOR and becoming a part of the new flagship station for Mets baseball. As a lifelong and die-hard Mets fan from Long Island, it is a dream come true to be on the radio in New York City talking sports.”
Madison Talk Host Sues Wisconsin Capitol Police. In what could turn out to be a precedent-setting legal case in Wisconsin, WXXM, Madison “92.1 The Mic,” talk show host Dominic Salvia is suing the state’s Capitol Police in federal court after he was arrested last summer while covering protests at the State Capitol. Dominic is co-host of “The Devil’s Advocates,” heard from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily on the progressive talk outlet (alongside co-host Mike Crute). In the complaint, Salvia says he was taking photos and observing the protest scene in the Capitol Rotunda for about five minutes when Capitol Police arrested him. He informed the officers he was a working journalist and should not be arrested, to no avail. Civil rights attorney Jeff Scott Olson is handling the case in which Salvia is seeking damages from the three officers. In a related case, the state of Wisconsin is appealing the dismissal of a charge against co-host Mike Crute who was cited for not having a permit to engage in a sing-along protest at the Capitol Rotunda. Last summer, a judge ruled the permit required was unconstitutional. Olson is representing Crute in that appeal. Regarding the first case, it’s expected the state will argue Salvia was not a working journalist. Given the expanding nature of media and journalism, the definition of a working journalist is up for debate and this case will likely revolve around that question.
WGWG, Chicago’s Kaplan to Host Sports Memorabilia TV Show. Chicago sports talk personality David Kaplan – heard daily on Tribune Company’s new sports talker WGWG-LP, Chicago “The Game 87.7” – is going national as host of the WGN-TV produced show, “A Piece of the Game.” As Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, the show, created and produced by Don Dupree, is getting a national distribution deal. The program features historically significant sports memorabilia and invited fans to have their historic sports items appraised on the program. The show begins taping at the end of April and is expected to begin airing nationally in June.
Odds & Sods. Former NFL star Donovan McNabb extends his partnership with the WestwoodOne and NBC Sports Radio where he’ll continue to co-host the “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” alongside partner Mark Malone…..The Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy format announces comedian and actor Greg Proops is the special guest host all this week. “The Smartest Man in the World” is giving listeners a peek behind one of comedy’s most alluring and intelligent acts, and is highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits. Proops is also one of the stars of the CW Network’s improv comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway.”…..Las Vegas-based talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs reports her “FROST contest” is about to get underway and she has radio hosts from all over the country participating in the contest to be the top fundraising host for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Some of the hosts include: Doug McIntyre, KABC, Los Angeles; Simon Conway, WHO, Des Moines; Alan Stock, KDWN, Las Vegas; Jesus Marquez, KLAV, Las Vegas; Eddie Floyd, Dennis Romeo, Brooke Santina & Debbie McCarthy of America Matters, Reno; Josh Tolley of the ‘The Josh Tolley Show,’ GCN Network; and Steve Sanchez, Steve Sanchez Show, GCN Network. Dr. Wachs says she’s adding some extra spice by giving the top fundraising host a $1000 Southwest Airlines Gift Card. The actual campaign begins in two weeks and hosts can still join in by reaching out to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.