Bob Pittman Named CEO of Clear Channel Media Holdings. Acting on the faith it has in Bob Pittman to take Clear Channel into the future, the company’s board of directors announces it is naming him chief executive officer of CC Media Holdings which includes Clear Channel Radio and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings. He came aboard last November as an investor and chairman of media and entertainment platforms. Pittman’s career includes his visionary work as co-founder of the MTV Network, CEO of AOL Networks, Six Flags Theme Parks, Quantum Media, Century 21 Real Estate, and Time Warner Enterprises. In his new role he’ll join the board of directors of CC Media Holdings, Inc. and Clear Channel Communications, Inc. In addition, he will join the board of directors of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc., as its executive chairman. Bain Capital managing director John Connaughton says, “I’m thrilled we were able recruit Bob into the CEO role at Clear Channel. He is the perfect fit to lead this incredibly powerful media platform. He embraces creativity and has given employees the motivation and freedom to innovate, take risks and succeed. He thinks big, is not afraid of change and is intensely focused on driving new businesses, expanding our creative talent and maximizing the full value of Clear Channel’s extraordinary assets, ideas and people.”
NPR Announces Gary Knell CEO. He doesn’t start until December 1 but the chief of Sesame Workshop will take over the CEO post at NPR left vacant after the spring firing of former CEO Vivian Schiller. Knell’s experience in politics (working in both the California legislature and in Washington, DC as counsel) and in broadcasting make him an appealing candidate to take NPR past the controversy that has dogged it recently. NPR board chairman Dave Edwards calls Knell, “an extraordinary leader with extensive experience in public media, programming and education.” Knell tells NPR’s David Folkenflick he intends to depoliticize the company. “It’s not about liberal or conservative — it’s about fairness. We’ve got to make the case we’re delivering a fair service, not only in the way we do our jobs, but in the way we disseminate the news.”
AURN Cancels the Bev Smith Show. American Urban Radio Networks announces the Bev Smith show will cease being offered by the network after October 28. It was reported recently that Smith would wrap up production of her show due in part to illness but Smith denies that, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the cancellation is “about being a certain age and gender.” AURN president of program operations and affiliations Jerry Lopes tells the Post-Gazette that the audience for Smith’s show made it difficult to sell due to it being much older than the 25-54 demographic. “Her audience numbers were, frankly, skewing a lot older than that, which made the show less attractive to advertisers. We were forced to make some changes, and her show, unfortunately, was one of the casualties.” Smith says she is working on getting another company to support her show so it can continue. She says, “I’m the town crier. I’m the voice of people who never get a chance to express their voice. I believe in this show.”
Entercom Buffalo Names Allan Davis Program Director. Davis becomes program director at Entercom’s sports WGR, Buffalo. Davis most recently served as programmer for Genesis Communications’ stations in Tampa. He has programmed sports talk at KCSP, Kansas City; KFXX, Portland; CJCL, Toronto and more.
Katerina Perez Named Market Manager for CC Norfolk. Clear Channel announces Katerina Perez moves from her post as vice president and market manager at the company’s Melbourne, Florida cluster to the market manager position at its Norfolk, Virginia cluster.
Ian Punnett Writes Children’s Book for Halloween. Multifaceted talk show host Ian Punnett is known as somewhat of a renaissance man, between co-hosting a daily morning show in the Twin Cities with his wife of 27 years, Marge, on Hubbard Radio’s myTalk107.1FM, serving as the regular Saturday night host of Premiere Networks’ Coast to Coast AM, in addition to being the associate producer for two HD-DVD commercial productions of Minnesota Opera, an ordained pastor, a father of two sons, and a loving owner to a very peculiar dog that dreams of catching squirrels. Punnett has now immortalized his Boston Terrier, Jack, (adopted from a local rescue) in a children’s book specifically designed for the coming Halloween holiday and what he describes as today’s “edgier” young readers. Written with a “note of menace,” the book is titled, Jackula the Vampire Dog. Punnett is donating all profits generated by the sale of the book in support of children’s and animal charities nationwide. Published by Beaver’s Pond Press, the hardcover book is available for $16.95 at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell’s Books, Booktopia, and local boutique book stores. Punnett tells TALKERS, “It’s important to me to do creative work for a greater purpose. Children’s books can make kids laugh, bring families together and raise money at the same time.” No stranger to things that go bump in the night, Jackula is the story of a little girl suffering from bad dreams who takes comfort in a stray dog that watches over her while she sleeps. But the dog has a secret – a secret that’s good news for lonely little girls and bad news for the neighborhood squirrels. The book’s dark humor has earned Punnett the honor of being called “Shel Silverstein-esque.”
KGO, San Francisco Raises $200,000-Plus for Bay Area Food Banks. During a 14-hour broadcast on September 16, KGO and its listeners helped raise more than $200,000 for the Bay Area Food Banks. The KGO Fights Hunger Day Radio-thon consisted of special programming about the realities of hunger from both the KGO air staff and directly from families in the area affected by the struggle to provide healthy food even though they are employed. KGO operations director Jack Swanson says, “I am so proud of what our listeners and staff were able to accomplish in just 14 hours. This was an eye-opening experience for all of us and we all now know how much these vital services are needed in our community.” As part of the programming, KGO personalities Jennifer Jones Lee, Ronn Owens, Gil Gross kept the focus on hunger throughout the day and KGO reporters Jeffrey Schaub and Rob Artigo aired interviews and poignant profiles of food bank clients from all walks of life.
31 Survivors in 31 Days. That’s what KFBK, Sacramento morning news anchor Amy Lewis and the station are calling the breast cancer awareness campaign they are airing this month. In conjunction with the local Albie Carson Breast Cancer Foundation, Lewis is airing her interviews with 31 breast cancer survivors – one on each day this month – during morning and afternoon news. Lewis states, “Many of my friends and family are survivors of breast cancer. It was my goal to interview 31 survivors for the 31 days of October to remind people who are currently fighting it that they are not alone. No matter how long and difficult the battle might be, they’re not fighting it by themselves. Because, to fight the battle against breast cancer, to help in the research, and to someday find a cure, we have to fight it – together.”
WGN, Chicago Engineer Ed Wilk Passes Away. Longtime WGN, Chicago engineer Ed Wilk passed away last week. WGN general manager Tom Langmyer posted the following statement on his Facebook page over the weekend: “Ed was an incredible broadcast engineer and a tremendous man. He was positive, resourceful, dedicated and a man of great character & integrity. Ed worked at WGN for more than 30 years. He was a WGN family member who will be sorely missed. Condolences to Adrienne, the rest of his family and many friends.”