Talk Radio Pro Rusty Humphries to Host ‘Trending Today USA’ to Launch in January. The new program comes from USA Radio Networks where CEO Floyd Brown has “tasked radio veteran Rusty Humphries with re-imagining the talk radio format.” The result is the new talk show “Trending Today USA” and will be hosted by Humphries beginning January 11. Humphries says, “This program will focus on what America is discussing, viewing and sharing in social media. Everything has been reimagined, from the network commercials, to the music, to the way the news is being presented –this will be talk radio for the social media mindset!” The company says the new show “will give affiliates programming that appeals to a multi-generational audience in the same way social media has done. It will provide advertisers and agencies with the audience they covet and make the show a commercial success.” Humphries adds, “Don’t get me wrong, there are some very talented people on the air today, but the industry needs some shaking up. Listeners have moved away from traditional platforms and are spending their time on social media. We’re producing a show which will not showcase my opinions, but will showcase the social news being devoured by Americans. I believe this show, and others like it, will restore talk programing to prominence. It will breathe life into a format aching for resuscitation. Americans are consuming news more than ever, but they are doing it on different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. With that in mind, I have worked with a group of social media giants to craft a show that lowers the bellicose and increases the pacing and news. I am more proud of this program than anything I have done in radio to date.”
Report from the Nielsen Audio Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Maryland at the Nielsen Audio Client Conference and he files this report with TALKERS. Some of the topics addressed at the conference include the growth of Black and Hispanic radio audiences, their loyal use of the medium and their importance to the future of radio; Washington urban radio icon Donnie Simpson’s thoughts about broadening programming; plus a granular look at a radio station’s audience and the importance of “Super Fans.” Read it all here.
iHeartMedia Names Sara McClure Sacramento Market President. The new market president for iHeartMedia’s Sacramento station group is Sara McClure, who takes over for John Geary, allowing him to return to his retirement. This is a promotion for McClure who was serving as SVP of sales for the cluster. She joined iHeartMedia in 2013 after 15 years with Entercom. She says, “I am thrilled to take this next step in my career. Becoming president of iHeartMedia Sacramento, which is my hometown, is very special. iHeartMedia is a company of opportunity where I can operate within a culture that is consistent with how I do business. I look forward to delivering results to our clients and fantastic products to our listeners, while creating an environment for our team that allows them to excel as part of a dynamic organization in a rapidly evolving industry.” iHeartMedia operates hip hop KHYL “V101.1,” news/talk KFBK, talk KSTE, adult hits KQJK “93.7 Jack FM,” and country KBEB “B 92.5.”
WGN, Chicago Names Steve Grzanich News Anchor. Veteran Chicago journalist and broadcaster Steve Grzanich joins the news staff at Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago to anchor the daily 5:00 am to 6:00 am program, “The Opening Bell.” The station says the show will be a “fast-paced hour for investors, entrepreneurs, innovators and every Chicagoan who wants to better understand how their money moves around the planet and their workplace.” Vice president of programming and content Todd Manley states, “You will get much more than the numbers with Steve. You’ll get the plotlines and the characters that fuel the business world from one of our town’s greatest reporters.” In addition to anchoring “The Opening Bell,” Grzanich will be part of the Steve Cochran morning drive show working alongside news anchor Andrea Darlas. Grzanich spent 20 years with CBS RADIO’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM and is a contributing reporter at Chicago-based Rivet Radio.
Hillsdale College Names Scot Bertram Station Manager for WRFH. The new radio station at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan has its general manager as the school hires Scot Bertram of WROK in Rockford, Illinois to assume the role next semester. Bertram is currently program director and morning host at the Townsquare Media-owned news/talk station. Bertram says, “The combination of Hillsdale and radio was immediately appealing. It fit like a glove — my interests, passions, and skills. I’m looking forward to working with the students, people who want to take part, want to learn more. The ability to speak extemporaneously and think on your feet, is a skill applicable to many professions.” Gold Bold Media Group founder and president Vince Benedetto, who donated the resources for Hillsdale’s radio station, says Bertram’s caliber is a tribute to Hillsdale’s reputation. “He has all the skill sets that are critical to getting the radio program off the ground for the college and doing something historic that they’re going to be working on.” In addition to his work with the station, Bertram will teach a broadcasting course as a journalism elective.
Sun Broadcast Group’s Jason Bailey Named Honorary Trustee for the Alliance for Women in Media. The Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation announce Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey is the newest Honorary Trustee. The Honorary Trustee program at AWM/F offers senior executives the opportunity to engage and influence the strategy of AWM/F and its support of women in media. The program highlights ways to work together that are exclusive to Honorary Trustees and not available at any other partnership level through the Alliance for Women in Media or the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. AWM/F chair and SVP of global content operations at Discovery Communications Kristen Welch states, “The Honorary Trustee program serves as an avenue for innovative, passionate media C-levels to get involved with advancing and supporting women in media. We are proud to add Jason Bailey to our Honorary Trustee program and look forward to seeing how his passion for innovation and radio are reflected in his contributions to the Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation.”
Odds & Sods. Flint, Michigan news/talk WWCK “Supertalk 1570” fills the morning drive slot with market media pro Michael J. Thorp. He takes over for the retired Lou Lobsinger, effective Monday, December 7 at the Cumulus Media-owned station. Thorp worked for years in local television hosting the morning show on WJRT-TV…..Regine Schlesinger retires from CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM/WCFS-FM, Chicago after a 42-year career there. She was most recently a reporter and anchor for the station…..Yahoo! Sports Radio will launch new shows on the network beginning in January. A new program with host Joe Spano will air in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot; Matt Perrault moves from a fill-in role to hosting his own 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily show; Lewis Woodward joins the network for a “vital role during weekends,” and the new “Nothing But Net” show hosted by former NBA guard Troy Hudson launches next Thursday (12/10) from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm…..Emmy Award-winning sports reporter and KNX, Los Angeles sports correspondent Randy Kerdoon launches a new weekly podcast on PodcastOne titled, “Talking About Cars.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Randy’s connections and knowledge of the auto industry is sure to be entertaining, and podcasts about cars are increasingly popular. He’s a radio pro right here in my hometown. It’s safe to say PodcastOne is populated with some serious car freaks, starting with Adam Carolla and including me, so we’re all hoping this hometown boy makes good.”…..One of talk radio’s favorite guests, Peter D. Kiernan, author of the best-selling Becoming China’s Bitch (Turner, 2012), has won two major independent book awards for his latest book, “American Mojo Lost and Found: Restoring Our Middle Class Before the World Blows By” (Turner, 2015). The prestigious 2015 Royal Dragonfly Book Award Contest recognized Kiernan in two categories: first place in the Business and Finance and Historical Non-Fiction categories.
Gifts, Gadgets, Gizmos and Hi-Tech Holiday Goodies. Noted media consultant Holland Cooke joins host Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the PodcastOne international hit for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out,” posted today (12/1). The two talk about the latest technological marvels that are the hot stocking stuffers this holiday season… and then some. They delve into the world of drones, driverless cars, and gadgets within the expanding “Internet of Things” that keep tabs on their owners — such as toothbrushes that inform your dentist about the health of your teeth, baby clothes that inform parents about the well-being of their sleeping child and refrigerators that order replacements when you are running out of milk. Harrison and Cooke cover a wide spectrum of items from low-tech 20th century devices such as the Slinky and yo-yos to the modern-day Apple Watch and the coming practice of embedding chips into the human body. They discuss the implications of this new unfolding era on privacy and other significant aspects of sociology. To hear the entire conversation please click here or click on the player boxes in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Syracuse Family ‘Wins’ Waffles with Wainwright. Last month, WSYR, Syracuse morning drive host Mark Wainwright urged listeners to invite him and the WSYR morning show into their home for a live broadcast and – waffles! Much to Wainwright’s surprise, numerous families competed to host the show on November 12. The “winning” family was John and Katie Femenella and their kids (Wainwright is pictured here at the mic with John Femenella at left). In addition to hosting the broadcast from their kitchen, Anthony Donofrio, executive chef of the Modern Malt, prepared breakfast for all. Wainwright says, “John and Katie and their kids were terrific. We could not have had a warmer or more enthusiastic reception. For much of the morning, it felt like the whole neighborhood showed up. When I compared notes with John later, we realized there might have been one or two crashers in the crowd. John thought they were Katie’s friends, and Katie thought they were John’s friends! Maybe they were relatives of the neighbors? Anyway, everybody was nice, and the Modern Malt folks were very impressed by the turnout. I really enjoy promotions where listeners are actively engaged, and this was a perfect example.”
San Bernardino Shootings/Gun Control, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Turkey Military Tensions, Battle Against IS, Syrian Refugee Controversy, and DiCaprio Bear Rape Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that took the lives of 14, plus the related issue of gun control; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the military tensions between Turkey and Russia over the downing of a Russian fighter and allegations Turkey is buying oil from an IS-controlled region; the larger topic of the battle against Islamic State; the controversy over how to deal with refugees from the Syrian civil conflict; and the flap over a scene in the new Leonardo DiCaprio film in which some reviewers say DiCaprio’s character is raped by a bear were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.