Bill Bennett to Give Up Daily AM Duties; Hugh Hewitt Moves to Morning Drive at SRN. Ending an 11-year run as host of Salem Radio Network’s morning drive program “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America,” Bennett will step back a bit from the mic as of April 4 when he becomes senior correspondent. He’ll produce a daily feature titled, “Making America Work,” that will also be formatted as a one-hour weekend program. In the series, he’ll interview successful American business owners and entrepreneurs. Moving to the morning drive daypart (6:00 am to 9:00 am ET) will be current early evening host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt will re-locate to Washington, DC for the new program. Salem Media Group notes Hewitt’s “radio career has taken off in the last year with a new-found love for breaking news and what to think about it. He was given an opportunity to expose his great knowledge and talents to the country when he was selected as a panelist on the CNN presidential debates. He has already conducted more interviews with the presidential candidates than any other host, and has become the ‘go to’ show for this campaign.” Hewitt comments, “In 25 years of broadcasting on television and radio I have never been as excited as by this opportunity to build on the enormous platform Bill Bennett has constructed. It is already a show for influencers across the country, and I plan to maintain that influence, making this a ‘must listen’ for every mover and shaker in America, from a stay-at-home mom or dad to CEOs and government leaders.” Bennett says of his time on the radio, “Engaging in an illuminating and entertaining conversation with the American people has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding episodes of my career. I now look forward to another phase of work with the Salem Radio Network. The seminars and in-depth discussions in our new ‘Making America Work’ series that we are planning for 2016 and beyond will write a new chapter in radio. I simply want to express my gratitude to Salem for its continued confidence in me and to my audience – the greatest radio audience in America – for its loyalty and its candor, intelligence and goodwill.”
WYAY, Atlanta’s Michael Graham Offers to Consult Candidate to Oppose Georgia Legislator Who Defended the Klan. According to a piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, WYAY, Atlanta “Newsradio 106.7” late morning personality Michael Graham has advertised in the Jackson Herald his willingness to put his political consulting acumen to use for a candidate who will challenge Republican State Representative Tommy Benton. This comes after Benton defended the Ku Klux Klan while discussing proposed legislation he authored to protect institutions named after Confederate military figures and revert street names back to their original names, if they honored such historical people. One street was named after Confederate General John B. Gordon, an early Georgia Klan leader. In discussing the issue, Benton defended the Klan, saying it “made a lot of people straighten up.” He also said it “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order. I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.” Graham’s ad requests any Jackson County resident wishing to challenge Benton’s seat to contact him. Graham promises to donate his time and political consulting expertise as well as help promote fundraising. Read the AJC story here.
Presidential Race, Super Bowl 50, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and European Anti-Islam Rallies Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The activities of the candidates for president; the build-up to Sunday night’s Super Bowl 50; North Korea’s launch of a long-range satellite missile; concerns over the Zika virus and a potential pandemic; and the anti-Islam rallies held in Europe over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Westwood One Provides Radio Coverage of Super Bowl 50. The exclusive radio play-by-play of Super Bowl 50 was provided by Westwood One. As part of its post-game program, WW1’s James Lofton (right) interviews Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (left) who was named MVP of the game.
Odds & Sods. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports iHeartMedia Indy market manager Rick Green is being promoted to a regional president post for the Mid-Atlantic region where he’ll be based in Richmond, Virginia. A new Indianapolis market manager should be named soon…..The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman is reporting that John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman just re-signed to broadcast New York Yankees games on CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York for two more seasons……iHeartMedia promotes longtime company sales pro Sherri Griswold Holladay to the regional vice president of sales position for the Mid-South region…..Beasley Media Group names Steve Griesbach director of engineering for the Las Vegas cluster. Griesbach most recently served with Cumulus Media’s Green Bay, Wisconsin station group.
Scheduling Announced in Nielsen v Bubba Suit. Both sides of the $1 million suit by Nielsen against Tampa-based morning personality Bubba the Love Sponge are digging in for a fight. Now, we know the timeline for the legal skirmish. If the matter goes all the way to trial, it’ll start next January 3. Before that, however, there are discovery deadlines, a mandatory attempt to settle via mediation and a pre-trial conference in December. Nielsen probably has lawyers on retainer, but this is still going to be expensive for both parties.