Michael Berry Renews with iHeartMedia. Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry inks a new long-term deal with iHeartMedia that runs through 2020. Berry’s program is based at news/talk KTRH, Houston and is heard on iHeartMedia stations in 13 additional markets. The former Houston city councilor started his talk radio career with the company in 2005. Berry states, “While I’m loyal to the company I’ve worked with for so long, this agreement is about the future, not the past. From Bob Pittman, our chairman and CEO, and Rich Bressler, our president, COO and CFO, to Kelly Kibler, my EVPO; Eddie Martiny, my market manager; and Marc Sherman and Bryan Erickson, our programming directors in Houston — every single one of them is committed to our show, our team, and the way we do things. They’ve provided a platform for me to serve my sponsors, entertain our listeners, and raise money for Veterans, and I’m incredibly excited about our future.” Bob Pittman comments, “Michael is a great talent, and his audience loves and relies on him – both for the news and important information he provides every day, and for his strong commitment to his community of listeners and the causes important to them. We are very pleased that Michael will continue his strong work for us, and delighted that he’ll continue to be such a key part of our team.”
Cumulus Brings Digital and Social Media Pro Lori Lewis Aboard. This new relationship brings industry-respected digital and social media maven Lori Lewis together with Cumulus Media as she becomes the company’s new vice president of social media. A press release says in her new position, she’ll work with Cumulus’ programming and sales teams to develop integrated social media strategies for the company’s radio stations and the Westwood One network. She will also provide social media solutions to Westwood One’s affiliate partners as part of the company’s Enterprise Solutions Group. Lewis will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey. Lewis was most recently with consulting firm Jacobs Media. Lew Dickey comments, “Lori is our industry’s foremost authority on social media. She has architected successful social strategies for many of the biggest brands in radio. We are excited for Lori to bring her unique experience and expertise to our station group as well as to our affiliate partners at Westwood One.” On joining Cumulus, Lewis says, “I am honored to take this newly created role within Cumulus, and to create real value and impact socially for our audiences, advertisers and affiliate partners. Many mistake social for volume, when in fact it’s about differentiating. This move, on behalf of Lew Dickey and [Cumulus SVP] Gary Pizzati, speaks volumes of their leadership and foresight in moving Cumulus forward, and I thank them for that.”
Entercom Promotes Kramer to COO, Names Levy to Board of Directors. Station group president Louise Kramer is promoted to chief operating officer for Entercom Communications Corp. In a press statement, the company says, “Kramer is a media veteran who has been with Entercom since 2000, most recently serving as station group president. In this role, she spearheaded the company’s reinvention efforts, focusing on enhancing the company’s future growth and directly overseeing several of the company’s markets. Ms. Kramer is a member of Entercom’s operating committee and, since 2013, has served as chairperson. Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Weezie is an enormously talented and effective leader who has made a huge impact on our organization since she joined Entercom in 2000. Like so many great leaders, she is totally and selflessly committed to her team’s success, bringing her vast energy, intelligence, creativity, and high standards to our entire organization. I am thrilled to see her continue to rise to the highest levels of our company.” Also, the company reports that David Levy is named to the board of directors. Levy has served as president of Turner Broadcasting System since 2013. In this role he oversees all creative and business activities of the Turner signature entertainment networks —TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim — and their digital brand extensions, as well as Turner Sports.
Cumulus Has a Buyer for WMAL, Washington Transmitter Site. According to Bethesda Magazine, Cumulus Media has a deal with two prominent area home builders who will turn the Bethesda, Maryland site of WMAL-AM, Washington’s transmitter into a 76-acre housing development. Winchester Homes and Toll Brothers are reported as the buyer but no sale price has been announced yet. According to real estate firm CBRE, the land could hold up to 300 homes on quarter-acre lots in accordance with current zoning regulations. Cumulus will relocate the WMAL-AM transmitter.
Radio One Revamps WOLB, Baltimore’s Larry Young Show. The urban morning drive talk show lead by radio personality Larry Young is now being simulcast on Radio One’s translator W291BA at 106.1 FM. That signal airs Christian music and is branded “PRAISE 106.1.” Joining Young (center) and co-host Coach (left) is former WWIN, Baltimore “Magic 95.9” midday personality Tim Watts (right). The station says, “We’re combining the best of the Praise format with the information, entertainment and ‘ground level’ interaction that our listeners already expect from Larry’s show. For additional color, we’ve welcomed Tim Watts back to be part of this daily roundtable of all things Baltimore and our community.”
Gordon Named Sales Manager for iHeartMedia Tampa. The appointment of Mary Gordon as sales manager for iHeartMedia‘s Tampa cluster takes effect in four weeks (6/1). Senior vice president of sales Fernando Bauermeister comments that, “Mary’s experience of leading successful teams made her a natural choice for the position. We are excited to have Mary join our staff and we look forward to her helping our clients grow their business.” Gordon states, “I am extremely excited to be given the opportunity to join the team of talented professionals at iHeartMedia Tampa. I look forward to utilizing the amazing assets that iHeartMedia has in its arsenal to find solutions to the key marketing objectives in the west Florida region.” Gordon’s background includes a stint in sports marketing for IMG (International Management Group), as well as being general sales manager – and later director of sales – for Cumulus Media Atlanta’s country WKHX “Kicks 101.5” and WYAY. The eight-station iHM Tampa cluster includes: urban contemporary WBTP “The Beat”; WDAE “Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio”; talk WFLA; CHR WFLZ “The Hit Music Channel”; country WFUS “US-103.5”; talk WHNZ “Impact Radio”; hot AC WMTX “Mix 100.7”; and WXTB “98 Rock.”
Hoyt Heads to Louisville as Salem Media Group GM. Founder-president of Missouri-based AdAbilities – Tom Hoyt – is named general manager of Salem Media Group Louisville talk outlet WGTK “The Answer” and WFIA “The Spirit – Christian Talk & Praise.” Salem vice president of operations Mike Moran notes, “We were looking for a general manager with a combination of strong leadership skills, management experience, and a proven sales orientation. I believe with Tom we found a man who delivers on all those fronts and brings the additional benefit of knowing and loving the city of Louisville.” Hoyt comments, “I cannot imagine a more ideal opportunity than this position with Salem Media Group in Louisville. The stations are heritage properties with a veteran staff. I am thankful that Mike has selected me and I am looking forward to building on the success the team has established.” Hoyt – who succeeds Tim Hartlage at the Louisville talk combo – previously worked in the market for Cox Media Group; was vice president and chief sales officer for CommunityLink Publications; general sales manager of Emmis St. Louis; and director of sales for Barnstable Broadcasting‘s stations in Greenville, South Carolina. Hartlage continues working for Salem, focusing on local ministry.
Saga Communications Q1 Revenue Down 1.2%; Radio Division Dips 2.6%. For the first quarter of 2015, Saga Communications is reporting net revenue decreased 1.2% on income of $29.1 million. Revenue for the radio segment was $24, 276,000 – a decline of 2.6% compared to the same period a year ago (the TV segment was up). Other data reported included free cash flow up 5.2% to $3.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, compared to $3.4 million for the same period last year. Station operating expense decreased 0.8% to $22.8 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations) compared to $23.0 million for the same period last year. Operating income was $3.8 million. Net income for the period was $2.1 million ($0.36 per fully diluted share).
Odds & Sods. Philadelphia news/talker WPHT will play a role in the local appearance of Kentucky Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul. After his press conference at the People’s Plaza on Independence Mall on Monday, May 18, the senator will make a special appearance at the Independence Seaport Concert Hall for a discussion focused on his book, Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America. WPHT host Dom Giordano will moderate…..Longtime WGN, Chicago radio host and current WCGO, Chicago personality Milt Rosenberg was recently honored by the City of Chicago for among other things, “bringing the world of ideas to millions of listeners, combining a scholar’s understanding of the humanities broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.”
2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Prophet Drawing Contest’ Shooting, Clinton Family Foundation Scrutiny, Baltimore Aftermath, and California Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4). The influx of new candidates for president in 2016 including independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Republicans Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee; the aftermath of the weekend’s shooting of two purported ISIS followers at a “prophet drawing contest” in Garland, Texas; Bill Clinton’s dismissal of criticism of the Clinton Family Foundation finances; the civil and political situation in Baltimore and questions about how Freddie Gray died; and the worsening drought in California and the battle over water policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.