Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Friday, January 24, 2020

| January 24, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “New Boogie Virus in the Closet of Our Fears!” looks back at this past week of January 20-24, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Howie Carr, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Dana Cheng, senior reporter China news, The Epoch Times; and Ryan Wrecker, talk show host, KMOX, St Louis.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Lynda Lopez Returns to WCBS-AM, New York. After leaving Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York in 2016, news pro Lynda Lopez is back with the station handling the midday news anchor position as well as serving as a special projects reporter.  The Emmy Award-winning journalist was most recently a television and radio news anchor for ABC News and previously was an anchor and reporter for WCBS-TV, WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV in New York.  She has also served as a contributor for Latina Magazine, Glamour, and Glam Belleza Latina.  She was a news anchor and special correspondent for WCBS-AM from 2009 through 2016.  Lopez succeeds recently retired WCBS news anchor Pat Farnack.  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “I’m happy to welcome Lynda back to our exceptional on-air WCBS 880 team.  I am confident her breadth of experience and her skillset engaging audiences, as well as her established presence in this market, will enable her to thrive in this role and successfully keep New Yorkers informed daily.”

Round Two of Holiday PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was December 5 through January 1.  As noted yesterday, the calendar month of December can be challenging for spoken-word stations as Christmas music becomes a popular choice for radio listeners and holiday activities break up typical listening patterns.  That said, Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” tacked four-tenths on to its December survey weekly 6+ AQH share for a 5.5 share and the #5 rank in the market.  iHeartMedia’s all-news WBZ-AM gains 1.2 shares to finish the survey at a 6.0 share and the #3 rank in the Boston market.  And in San Diego, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO adds three-tenths to finish the Holiday survey at a 4.7 share.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

 

New York Festivals Radio Awards Debuts Storytellers Gala at NAB Show. On April 21 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, New York Festivals Radio Awards kicks off its inaugural Storytellers Gala in celebration of the 10th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with the annual NAB Show.  New York Festivals says that with the digital audio arena encompassing music-streaming, podcasts, online, and satellite radio, radio has come a very long way since the first radio broadcast of election coverage by KDKA on November 2, 1920.  In honor of this momentous invention, New York Festivals Radio Awards will celebrate 100 years of radio while bringing together global storytellers from both the radio and TV & film industry on the same stage.  Radio storytelling begins with a distinctive voice and ends with a captivating narrative that engages listeners on a broad range of topics.  New York Festivals Radio Awards’ robust roster of categories celebrates the innovative storytelling from content creators from 40 countries around the world. From Live Shows to Entertainment Specials, Sports to Talk Radio, Music Shows to News, Serialized Storytelling to Podcasts and Audiobooks, powerful storytelling today succeeds in engaging listeners and illustrating that the voice of the storyteller is loud, clear and very much alive in radio.  TALKERS magazine publisher and NYF Radio Awards Advisory Board member Michael Harrison says, “The NYF is right in sync with the most important movement taking place in media today – a revival of enthusiasm for the art of storytelling. Storytelling has been the foundation of oral communications from the dawn of language to the present-day explosion in technology.  The idea of outstanding storytellers from around the planet gathering in Las Vegas to celebrate this most evolved element of human connectivity is deeply gratifying to those of us who love the spoken word and remain in awe of its power.”  The deadline to enter the 2020 Radio Awards competition is February 1, 2020. To enter please visit: here.  For additional information visit: Rules and Regulations.

TALKERS News Notes. Virginia-based conservative talk media personality John Fredericks is the focal point in a Washington Post piece about the Trump administration and news/talk radio.  In the story by Sarah Ellison titled, “Trumpworld Has Converted the Nation’s Regional Talk Radio Hosts Into a Loyal Army,” she writes, “Pouring attention on regional talk radio hosts is a classic Trumpworld move: giving relatively unknown characters proximity to the White House has paid off with a disproportionate amount of attention and praise lavished on the president and his agenda.” Read the piece here at Fredericks’ TrumpNationNews.com…..The National Sports Media Association has named WTOP-FM, Washington senior sports director and long-time Wizards radio play-by-by broadcaster Dave Johnson “D.C. Sportscaster of the Year.”  WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “Dave is one of the hardest working guys I have ever met.  We are so thrilled and excited to see Dave honored for the amazing work he has done throughout his career.  Dave is an incredible journalist and amazing person to work alongside each day.”  This season marks Johnson’s 23rd as the voice of the team on the Washington Wizards Radio Network…..The Consumer Technology Association – owner and producer of the annual CES – came under fire from some quarters for bringing Ivanka Trump in to serve as a keynote speaker for the CES 2020 earlier this month.  CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro defends the organization’s move – and has some choice words for its “totally uninformed” critics – on the Westwood One Podcast Network’s “Think About This with Shelly Palmer and Ross Martin.”

Impeachment Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 20-24.  The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November.  Coming in at #3 was the Wuhan coronavirus and U.S.-China relations, followed by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and the subject of climate change at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

FOX News Radio Positions Open. There are three news posts that FOX News is seeking to fill. The first is Overnight Freelance Anchor for FOX News Radio in Washington, DC, Los Angeles or New York City. FOX says, “As a radio news anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.” See more about that position and apply here. The second position is staff producer and news editor for FOX News in New York City. In this position you will supervise the staff for FOX’s network radio news operation, Fox News Headlines 24/7. As the producer/news editor you are editorial leader, working with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. See more about that position here. The third position is Freelance Radio Master Control Operator in New York. For this position the company is seeking a technically strong and motivated operator to provide technical oversight over all FOX News Radio platforms, including FOX News Radio’s terrestrial operation, FOX News Talk and FOX News Headlines 24/7. See more and apply for this position here.

SAVE THE DATE! Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station Is Set for June 5 in New York. The 23rd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 5, 2020 in New York City. Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference, marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of TALKERS, will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age and the fundamental changes in the platforms upon which it is carried and distributed. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. However, those registering before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 7 pay only $279 – a significant early bird discount. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Two morning shows have been dismissed at Entercom’s San Diego station group.  AJ Machado and Sara Perry are gone from classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1” after a little less than two years there.  They had previously served with adult contemporary KYXY “96 Soft Rock” in the market.  Also exiting the cluster are Dana DiDonato and Jayson Prim from alternative KBZT “Alt 94.9.”  They came to San Diego from Cox Media Group’s CHR WBLI, Long Island, replacing the “Cantore & Woods” show.  There has been no announcement from the company on its plans for the morning dayparts on the two stations…..In Denver, Entercom names Chuck Sullivan the SVP and market manager for the cluster that includes four music brands – classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain,” CHR KALC “Alice 105.9,” nostalgia KEZW-AM “Timeless Music,” and hip hop KQKS “KS 107.5” — as well as comedy KQKS-HD2…..SuiteRadio’s 24/7 hot AC format “The Planet” – syndicated by Envision Networks – adds new affiliate station WKSO-FM, Natchez, Louisiana to is roster of stations.  The Planet’s on-air lineup features personalities Maria Todd, Atom Smasher, and Mark Carrillo. Core artists include: Adele, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, and Coldplay.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

| January 23, 2020

Entercom Enlists Claritas to Assist with Attribution. This collaboration between Entercom and data-driven marketing firm Claritas will “enable advertisers to measure attribution and accurately determine the portions of their podcast and streaming campaigns that contributed to a purchase, store visit. or app download.”  Entercom EVP of digital sales Ken Lagana says, “Podcasting is a critical and exciting business segment with exponential growth opportunities.  We are thrilled to partner with Claritas and integrate their measurement technology capabilities into our existing radio and digital audio attribution suite.  This new tool helps us fill a critical gap in the industry and allows us the ability to offer clients the opportunity to accurately measure ROI for podcasts and other digital campaigns.”  Entercom says that with its podcast footprint growing exponentially, it needed to expand its existing over-the-air and digital attribution capabilities to include the podcast medium.  The partnership with Claritas will allow advertisers to “calculate the total lift in business outcomes directly attributable to podcast and digital streaming and break out lift by the different components of a campaign, like target audiences, creative, geographic location visit, and more.  The measurement tools provide a valuable component to advertisers for their attribution capabilities to tie multichannel exposures to offline and online conversions and revolutionize the way campaign effectiveness is measured.”

WIP’s Angelo Cataldi Honored by Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. WIP-FM, Philadelphia morning drive host Angelo Cataldi was honored on Monday (1/20) with the Bill Campbell Broadcast Award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association.  The award is named after the legendary Philadelphia broadcaster and recognizes local sportscasters, talk show hosts, and radio and television reporters who display an excellence in broadcasting.  Cataldi says, “This award has great meaning to me for several reasons.  First, it falls on the exact date of my 30th anniversary at WIP.  Second, it comes from the Philadelphia sports writers, a role which I’m very proud to have had.  Last, but not least, this award bears the name of one of my inspirations in broadcasting, Bill Campbell.  I will never live up to Bill’s legacy, but this award gives me more reason than ever to try.”  Cataldi has hosted mornings on the Entercom sports talk station since 1990.  Prior to that he was the Philadelphia Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he earned two Pulitzer Prize nominations.

Round One of Nielsen’s Holiday PPM Survey Released.  The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey is released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was December 5 through January 1.  The Holiday book is rarely good news for news/talk, all-news, or sports stations as the all-Christmas music stations grab a lot of the cume in each market and listeners’ routines are disrupted by holiday activities.  Still, there are some positive stories to tell from this year’s Holiday survey.  iHeartMedia’s news/talk KTRH, Houston posted a half share increase over the December survey to land at a 4.6 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share).  Entercom’s sports talk WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” added a one-tenth share – the fifth positive move over the last six surveys to rise from July’s 2.8 share to the Holiday survey’s 5.0 share.  Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia rises six tenths to finish the Holiday survey at a 7.3 share and the #2 rank in the market.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

Talking Freedom in Hong Kong. Pictured above is “Free Talk Live” co-host Mark Edge (right) with a freedom activist (left) in Hong Kong.  Edge tells TALKERS magazine that he went to Hong Kong to report on its freedom movement, noting that “at ‘Free Talk Live’ we care about freedom everywhere in the world.”  Edge says that since the activists were asking Western media to come and report on their movement, they thought it was important.  He says there were about 400 people in attendance for an event on a Wednesday at noon and about 20 counter-protestors waving Chinese flags that the activists believe were paid to be there.  The five-finger hand gesture seen above symbolizes the five demands the activists are making: withdrawal of the extradition bill (which has happened), amnesty for arrested protesters, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, implementation of complete universal suffrage, and democratic elections for Hong Kong’s leader.

TALKERS News Notes. News pro Katie Couric and iHeartMedia announce the “Next Question with Katie Couric” podcast is returning to the iHeartRadio platform for season two.  iHeartMedia says that in the second season, “Couric will continue to examine critical issues like America’s staggering maternal mortality rate, the environmental impact of meat consumption, the most cutting-edge health and wellness regimens, and the 2020 presidential election.”  The first episode drops today and examines the Equal Rights Amendment and the history of an effort that began in 1923.  Season two will also debut additional bonus episodes called “Next Question Live” – taped in front of a live audience in which Couric hosts intimate conversations with CEOs, entrepreneurs and business trailblazers.  Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO Tim Brown kicks off the series discussing how his career in professional sports inspired him to make sustainable, fashionable shoes…..Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM announces its plans for coverage of Super Bowl LIV week in Miami.  Its NFL Radio channel will be broadcasting live from Miami with personalities Gil Brandt, David Diehl, Bruce Gradkowski, Torry Holt, Pat Kirwan, Ed McCaffrey, Jim Miller, Kirk Morrison, Brady Quinn, Charlie Weis, Solomon Wilcots, Alex Marvez, Bruce Murray, John Clayton and Howard Balzer on site.  Additionally, the play-by-play of Super Bowl LIV will be broadcast in seven languages, including: Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin), German, French, Hungarian, and Portuguese…..The nationally syndicated home show “The Money Pit Home Improvement Program” with host Tom Kraeutler adds new affiliate stations WMOV-AM, Ravenswood, West Virginia; WBLF-AM, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania; and KMAD-AM, Madill, Oklahoma…..Condolences to the family and friends of media broker Glenn Serafin, who passed away on Monday (1/20) at 69 after suffering a massive stroke.  Serafin served two terms as president of the National Association of Media Brokers from 2013-2017.  Prior to founding Serafin Bros in 1993, he spent eight years specializing in domestic broadcast brokerage and finance as a vice president of international investment banking firm Communications Equity Associates.  Earlier in his career, he served in news, sales, and management at The Associated Press.

SRN News to Cover Trump at March for Life. When President Trump becomes the first U.S. president to make a live appearance at the annual March for Life in Washington, DC tomorrow (1/24), Salem Radio Network will provide live coverage.  The network will provide an unanchored audio feed of the president’s remarks for affiliate stations beginning at 12:00 noon ET.  SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Donald Trump will be the first president to address the pro-life march in its 47-year history.  Previous occupants of the Oval Office have only sent written messages or addressed the annual March for Life via speakerphone.”

Impeachment, Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Davos 2020, and Hawaii Cop Slayings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The impeachment process taking place in the U.S. Senate; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November and Hillary Clinton’s attacks on Bernie Sanders; concerns about the Wuhan Coronavirus and China’s quarantine of Wuhan City; the subject of climate change at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and Hawaiian legislators’ response to the killing of two Honolulu police officers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WOR, New York, Morning Co-Host Michael Riedel Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime Broadway theater critic-turned-political-news/talker Michael Riedel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Riedel, along with Len Berman, is the co-host of the morning show on WOR, New York in which he presents the conservative perspective and Berman expresses the liberal point of view on today’s hottest issues. Harrison and Riedel talk about the state of today’s highly polarized national conversation focusing on the nature of Donald Trump and the extraordinary role he is playing as an agent of change in these turbulent times. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Portland hot AC KKCW “K103” announces the new morning show is “K103 Mornings with Stacey & Mike,” effective February 3.  Mike Chase joins iHeartMedia after exiting Entercom’s crosstown country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” in October where he co-hosted the morning show.  Chase is being partnered with “K103” afternoon personality Stacey Lynn for the new AM show.  iHeartMedia Portland market president Pete Landry says, “‘K103’ has a long history of extraordinary morning shows and I couldn’t be more excited about this next chapter.  Both Stacey and Mike are experienced broadcasters who love what they do.”…..In Dallas, Mac Daniels exits Cumulus Media’s country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” and sister country KSCS “New Country 96.3” where he’d been program director since 2016…..Cochise Media Licenses enters into an agreement to sell classic rock KDVK-FM, Dove Creek, Colorado to Desert Explorer Communications, LLC.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

| January 22, 2020

New Talk Format to Launch on WTZA, Atlanta. According to a report by Rodney Ho in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, local entrepreneur Will Regan is leasing WTZA-AM, Atlanta and translator W271CV at 102.1 FM to air a news/talk format featuring Atlanta talk radio icon Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson in afternoon drive.  Peterson will continue to work with show cast members Pete Davis, Jim Gossett, and producer Brent “Flounder” Dundon.  Peterson was most recently heard in the market on WYAY-FM “Talk 106.7” (now WAKL) prior to Cumulus Media selling the signal to Christian broadcaster Educational Media FoundationMike Brooks, who also hosted a show on “Talk 106.7,” is slated to host the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm program.  Regan tells Ho that he’s still looking for morning and midday hosts.  The station is expected to debut on February 3.

Impeachment, Trump at Davos, Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Honduran Immigrant Caravan, Putin’s Power Grab, and Megxit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). Tuesday’s battle in the Senate over procedure for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the various topics Trump addressed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; the Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November; the Wuhan Coronavirus affecting China and the first confirmed case in the U.S. in Washington state; the status of the migrant caravan attempting to get from Honduras to the U.S.; Vladimir Putin’s attempt to re-engineer the Russian constitution to remain in power; and Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s move to Canada were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Networks Gear Up for Super Bowl LIV. Radio networks covering Super Bowl LIV are announcing their plans. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the National Football League – is presenting play-by-play of the game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on February 2.  Kevin Harlan handles the play-by-play with Super Bowl XXXIV MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner as the lead analyst.  Former NFL referee turned rules analyst Gene Steratore joins the radio broadcast booth.  Former All-Pro offensive lineman Tony Boselli returns for a fourth straight year as sideline reporter and is joined by longtime field reporter Laura Okmin, who is making her debut on the Super Bowl crew.  Jim Gray anchors the pregame and halftime coverage with appearances by Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and New England Patriots quarterback and six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.  Westwood One is producing the hourlong preview show “Seven Days to Sunday — The Road to Super Bowl LIV” that airs each evening from January 26 through February 1, hosted by Scott Graham and co-hosted by a different WWO analyst each night.  FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Sports Network – is on site in Miami during Super Bowl week broadcasting its shows from Radio Row at the Miami Beach Convention Center.  “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”; “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis”; “The Doug Gottlieb Show”; Straight Outta Vegas with RJ Bell”; and “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker” will emanate from the Convention Center while AT&T/DIRECTV’s “The Dan Patrick Show” and “The Rich Eisen Show” will broadcast live from South Beach.

TALKERS News Notes. Arkansas Business reports that Cumulus Media has downsized at the Little Rock cluster and that three staffers from news/talk KARN-FM’s news department have exited.  The publication says news and traffic anchor Chris Ingram, anchor and reporter Heidi Sohl, and traffic reporter Chris Counts are all out…..In the Twin Cities, reporter and air personality Danny Cunningham leaves Hubbard Radio’s sports talk KSTP-AM “SKOR North” after his contract was not renewed.  Cunningham – who co-hosted the “Vikings Vent Line” show and hosted the “Raised by Wolves” podcast in addition to his reporting duties covering the NBA’s Timberwolves – announced his departure via social media…..Lima News reports that Woof Boom Radio’s sports talk WWSR, Lima, Ohio “93.1 The Fan” has filled the afternoon drive daypart with “The Drive With Marty Bannister.”  He takes over after longtime market sports personality and PM drive host Vince Koza succumbed to cancer in December.  Bannister is currently play-by-play announcer for Ohio University’s men’s and women’s basketball.  He also serves with Spectrum TV and the Ohio High School Athletic Association radio network…..Former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman and current WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” morning drive personality Tra Thomas was honored by his hometown of DeLand, Florida last weekend.  The city re-named Eastside Park and Playground after Thomas during a ceremony that was part of a number of events linked to the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.  Thomas has stayed active in charity efforts in the city where his parent’s still reside, helping fund Our Daily Bread, a nonprofit outreach ministry at Bethel A.M.E. Church that provides bagged groceries, and clothing; paying off his church’s mortgage and purchasing a bus for the church; and buying books for the Tra Thomas Book Club with the Boys & Girls Club of DeLand, the DeLand Library and the Chisholm Community Center…..Sison Broadcasting’s news/talk WVMT, Burlington adds Envision Networks’ “60 Seconds of Service” to its programming, airing twice daily each week.   The one-minute feature spotlights the men, women, and even animals in uniform who have served their country and their communities…..Late night talk radio star Jim Bohannon is being honored with induction into the Missouri Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame.  The induction takes place on June 6 at the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark as part of the 2020 Awards Banquet at the MBA annual convention.  Bohannon’s program is syndicated nationally via Westwood One.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Emily Boldon – who serves as vice president of AC formats and STRATUS music scheduling for Cumulus Media – moves back to the company’s Atlanta headquarters.  Boldon had been working from the company’s Providence cluster and was serving as program director for AC WWLI “Lite Rock 105.”  With the recent arrival of new operations manager Mary Ellen Kachinske – who is also the new PD of WWLI – Boldon is free to return south.  Cumulus VP of programming operations John Dimick says, “If there was ever any doubt about Emily’s programming acumen, she proved her skills with the tremendous growth and continued success of ‘Lite Rock 105’ Providence while maintaining our company’s leadership in the AC format.  Now it’s time to bring her back to Atlanta where she can continue to lead our AC stations and focus more of her time and effort on improving the company’s STRATUS system.”…..UJA-Federation of New York names SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein its Music Visionary of the Year.  He’ll be recognized for his exceptional professional accomplishments and commitment to philanthropy at the annual Music Visionary of the Year Award Luncheon on June 4 in New York City.  Daniel Glass, president & founder of Glassnote Entertainment Group and vice chair of UJA’s Entertainment, Media & Communications Division, says, “Scott’s vision and leadership have made an indelible impact on the world of music and entertainment.  Scott is the perfect recipient of this prestigious award because he is always ahead of the cultural and technology curve.  He is responsible for the discovery and growth of so many careers.”…..On-air pro Robyn Cisar exits Cumulus Media’s hot AC KURB-FM, Little Rock “B 98.5” where she was co-host of the morning drive “Kevin and Robyn Show” with Kevin Idol.  She posted on Facebook, “It’s all still a blur, but news travels fast.  I have never loved a job more than I did working with Kevin on ‘B98.5.’  I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to do what I did.  I’ll always remember it and treasure the memories.”…..Skyview Networks’s “The Dana Cortez Show” adds two new affiliates as Campesina’s KBHH, Fresno “Forge 95.3” and KBDS, Bakersfield “Forge 103.9” add the show to their program lineups…..Big Radio names three new program directors to its Rock County radio operations.  Paul Michaels assumes the programming duties for rock WWHG “105.9FM – The Hog”; Micki Morgret is program director for 90s-formatted WBEL-AM/W222AU, Beloit/W255CZ, Janesville “The Beat 92.3FM and 98.9FM”; and Greg “Big Red” Hanthorn is the new PD for country WGEZ-AM/W270CW, Beloit “Iron Country.”

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

| January 21, 2020

Beasley Ups Justin Chase to Chief Content Officer. Programming pro Justin Chase is promoted from his EVP of programming position to chief content officer for Beasley Media Group.  The company says that in his new role, Chase “will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of on-air content and digital on behalf of the company.”  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Justin has done an incredible job overseeing our company’s on-air brands.  I look forward to him enhancing and expanding our content on all of our on-air and digital platforms across the company.”  Chase comments, “I am so grateful to the Beasley family and the entire corporate staff for their support and confidence in me taking on this new role within the company.  The programming and digital teams at Beasley are first class and I feel lucky to be surrounded by the best of the best every day.”

Lori Burgess Rises to Chief Operating Officer for Beasley Esports. Another executive promotion at Beasley Media Group has Lori Burgess moving from her chief digital content officer post to chief operating officer at Beasley Esports.  Prior to joining Beasley in her previous position, she consulted for the company on integrated marketing strategy.  Speaking about her new role leading Beasley Esports, Burgess says, “The esports industry is on the verge of going mainstream.  Our timing and expansion into this space will firmly poise Beasley Media Group to own and influence the next generation of consumers.  The company’s ability to provide compelling esports content, leverage strategic partnerships, and compete at the most elite levels will ensure our foundation as this sector begins to dominate the media and sports-market/entertainment conversation and commands more sponsorship partnerships.”  Burgess served for more than two decades in the publishing industry with brands including: The Hollywood Reporter, Prevention Magazine, Conde Nast’s Mademoiselle and House & Garden; Elle Magazine; Seventeen Magazine, and Niche Media.

Crossover Media Group to Partner with Just the News for Podcasts and Video.  In yesterday’s edition of TALKERS, we wrote about the coming launch of the news organization, Just the News – a multi-platform news operation founded by award-winning investigative journalist and commentator John Solomon.  Today, it’s being announced that Crossover Media Group – a cross-platform content-production and advertising-sales firm – is entering into a partnership with Just the News to produce, sell, and distribute its audio and video programming.  CMG will handle advertising sales and distribution of the video and audio content and assist in production of programming that will be found at JustTheNews.com.  Among the inaugural audio programs will be: “John Solomon Reports,” a twice-weekly podcast featuring the veteran investigative reporter and editor in chief of Just the News; “David Brody’s Pods Honest Truth,” hosted by longtime CBN correspondent and Just the News senior contributing editor David Brody; and “The Sharyl Attkisson Podcast,” featuring the Emmy-Award winning investigative television correspondent.  The first “John Solomon Reports” podcast drops today at 3:00 pm ET and offers listeners new information regarding the discussion around the Ukraine matter at the center of the presidential impeachment trial.  Crossover Media Group managing member Ron Hartenbaum says, “Over the course of more than three decades reporting from the nation’s capital, John’s award-winning work has propelled him to senior positions at The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and the Center for Public Integrity, among other prominent organizations.  His gutsy, contrarian, enterprise journalism has unearthed insights that have helped drive the national conversation, stirred controversy, and withstood scrutiny.”  Solomon adds, “Ron and I have worked on projects for many years and his command of the audio/video marketplace, his relationships and his visionary insights are priceless.  We are excited by the extraordinary capabilities of Crossover Media Group and can’t wait to get started.  There’s an incredible opportunity to cut through the noise in Washington with exclusive reporting and analysis.”

Beasley and Bonneville Officers Co-Chair Media Financial Management Summit. The 2020 CFO Summit takes place March 5-6 at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Ft. Lauderdale presented by The Media Financial Management AssociationBeasley Media Group CFO Marie Tedesco and Bonneville International CFO Kent Nate – along with E.W. Scripps SVP, controller and treasurer Doug Lyons – will serve as co-chairs for the conference.  This 14th edition of the annual summit “provides an exclusive forum with real solutions to the challenges that CFOs face every day.”  Topics include an update from the Federal Reserve; an equity analyst’s look at cybersecurity concerns for media businesses; the future of media; local advertising; podcasting; political advertising issues and outlook; leadership; and a CFO roundtable.

Impeachment, Presidential Race, Putin Power Grab, Honduran Migrant Caravan, Chinese Coronavirus, Virginia Gun Rally, and NFL Championship Games Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The process for handling the articles of impeachment against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Vladimir Putin’s push for constitutional changes in Russia that would extend his rule; a migrant caravan headed from Honduras to the U.S. is stopped at the Guatemala-Mexico border; fears of a global pandemic as China deals with the fast-spreading Coronavirus; the gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia; and Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship Games 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. At Hubbard Radio’s Chicago hot AC WTMX “The Mix,” afternoon drive co-host Jennifer Roberts, a.k.a. Jennifer Ashrafi, is leaving her role with the station to take a new corporate communications position.  Roberts, who co-hosted the show with Koz, a.k.a. Kevin Koske, announced the move in a social media post: “A lot of people get prematurely put ‘on the beach’ in this business and I’m thrilled that I’m making my exit completely on my terms.  There was no threat on the horizon, just a calling in my soul for something better.”…..In West Palm Beach, Hubbard Radio announces that programming pro Randi West joins the cluster as the new program director of hot AC WRMF and CHR WMBX-HD2/W242CI “Party 96.3.”  West was previously program director for iHeartMedia’s hot AC WMTX, Tampa.  Hubbard West Palm Beach operations manager Bruce Logan says, “WRMF is a one-of-a-kind radio station – huge heritage call letters, remarkably successful in ratings, and revenue with one of the best morning shows in the entire industry in ‘KVJ.’  We knew we needed a one-of-a-kind program director to match.  Randi’s passion and vision for the future as well as her energy made her the right fit.  I am thrilled to welcome Randi to the team and cannot wait to get out of her way and let her make WRMF even better.”

Monday, January 20, 2020

| January 20, 2020

When You Walk Through a Storm:  Cox Media Group Expresses Empathy and Interest in Talk Radio Pros Upended by iHM Layoffs.  The news/talk format coordinator of Cox Media Group, who also serves as the company’s senior operations & program manager for WSB and Cox Media Group Atlanta, has informed TALKERS that there could be employment opportunities available at Cox for displaced broadcasters down the road.  Drew Anderssen tells TALKERS, “With the depth of recent layoffs, a lot of incredibly talented people are finding themselves in a new position – out of work.  Please just know that we’re thinking about each of you and are always interested in speaking about future opportunities within CMG, especially in spoken-word formats.”  Anderssen invites people who lost their jobs to contact him at either Drew.Anderssen@cmg.com or 404-897-6233.

Monday Memo: He Saw This Coming on Stilts. In the aftermath of – and fearing aftershocks from – last lweek’s iHeart talent cull, consultant Holland Cooke warns “you will get CHILLS” when you read how specifically this was predicted…in 1995.  And Cooke explains why times remain opportune for stations and their ex-employees.  Read it here.

Trump Impeachment, Presidential Race, Iran Tensions, Virginia Gun Rights Rally, Putin Power Grab, and SAG Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The impeachment process and the selection of President Trump’s legal team; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in November; the protests that have rocked Iran in the aftermath of the down of a passenger jet and the Islamic state’s nuclear ambitions; the gun rights rally taking place today in Richmond, Virginia; Vladimir Putin’s move to change Russia’s constitution to extend his rule; and Sunday evening’s Screen Actors Guild Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Journalist John Solomon Launches New Digital News Outlet.  Award-winning journalist John Solomon announces he’s creating a new media outlet called Just the News, that he says will “address the growing need for fact-based, impartial news and compelling digital content.”  Solomon, who has served as a journalist and executive at such new organizations as The Hill, The Washington Times, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast, says, Just the News will “deliver exclusive news, podcasts, books, polling, and video content showcasing some of the most respected and trusted journalists and editors in news media today.”  Longtime Washington Times senior editor Daniel Wattenberg is the news outlet’s managing editor.  Senior contributing writers include David Brody, the long-time correspondent from the Christian Broadcast Network; former CNN political director Christine Dolan; and Lee Smith, author of the best-selling book The Plot Against The President.  Solomon says more hires and partnerships are expected to be announced in the next few weeks and the JusttheNews.com website is slated to launch within the next month.  He adds, “True journalism has been on the decline for years as major media companies have built business models that push agenda-driven news, click-bait content and opinion masquerading as fact, fueling mistrust and contempt from the American people.  As the fallout from the recent Russia collusion narrative exposed, journalists today too often rush to get their stories first and then are left to hope they are right.”  Just the News will be headquartered in Washington D.C. and consist of four divisions dedicated to web-based reporting, video journalism, podcasting, and long-form nonfiction book publishing.

Second Annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Celebrated. On Friday night (1/17), iHeartMedia produced the second annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards live at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles.  The program was also streamed live via LiveXLive.  Winners this year included “The Dropout” from ABC News taking Podcast of the Year honors, The New York Times winning Best News Podcast for “The Daily,” and Crooked Media’s “Pod Save the People” taking home the Best Political Podcast honors.  Pictured above is Conan O’Brien celebrating his winning the Best Comedy Podcast for “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.”  See all the winners here.  Photo: Getty Images for iHeartRadio

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk radio pro Scott Ferrall exits his late-night show with CBS Sports Radio to join SportsGrid to host two new video streaming programs.  “Scott Ferrall: Coast to Coast” streams from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET, followed by “In-Game LIVE” streaming from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Both shows emanate from SportsGrid’s Meadowlands Studio and debut on January 29.  SportsGrid says, “‘Scott Ferrall: Coast to Coast’ and ‘In-Game LIVE’ will serve the obsessed frenetic sports fan with live pregame and in-game wagering odds, moneylines, statistics, strategies, and insights with expert gaming analysis from Scott and his many guests.”…..Today (1/20), “First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz” debuts in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET daypart on ESPN Radio and simulcast on ESPNEWS.  ESPN says, “The show will further the most-timely conversations from that morning’s edition of ESPN’s marquee debate show, “First Take,” with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and host Molly Qerim Rose.  Smith will regularly join Fitz on the show to provide his unique brand of commentary. A powerful lineup of sport-specific experts, as well as callers, will also add their reactions to propel the discussion.”…..Entercom names the new radio broadcast team for Boston Red Sox baseball on flagship WEEI-FM, Boston.  Handling play-by-play will be 37-year Red Sox announcer Joe Castiglione along with Will Flemming, Sean McDonough, and Lou Merloni…..iHeartMedia Delaware air talent Scott Klatzkin is named 2019 Delaware Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.  Klatzkin is the voice of the University of Delaware Blue Hens.  This is the fourth time he has won the honor, having previously been selected in 2016, 2012, and 2009.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In St. Louis, Hubbard Radio does a talent shuffle on heritage rock outlet KSHE.  Twenty-nine-year station personality Guy “Favazz” Favazza moves from afternoons to morning drive with current morning personality John “U-Man” Ulett (who joins the show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am).  Lauren “Lern” Elwell heads from mornings to the afternoon drive daypart, and Mark Klose – who hosted mornings at KSHE from 1977 to 1983 – takes over the midday show.  Station brand and content director Marty Linck comments, “These moves pair The U-Man and Favazz (both KSHE’s longest-running talent) together in morning drive, and gives Lern a great platform to connect with our fans as a standalone on-air personality.  In addition, having Mark Klose re-join the staff during the work day and bring back ‘Klose’s Cut Above’ at noon will really help further cement our position as the rock music authority in St. Louis.”…..Pictured below is Coldplay performing at RADIO.COM’s brand new, state-of-the-art HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles Friday night.  The inaugural RADIO.COM Live event featured the band playing some of its classic hits, as well as some songs from the new album, Everyday Life.  The special performance was attended by a small audience of Entercom’s KROQ, Los Angeles listeners and was streamed nationwide on RADIO.COM.  Photo: Tim Norris/Getty Images for RADIO.COM

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