Bannon Is the Latest in a Long Line of High-Profile Radio Talkers to Make a Splash in Politics. Whereas most of the media coverage of Breitbart News, LLC chairman Stephen K. Bannon’s appointment this week as CEO of the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign, portrays him primarily as a “pugilistic” media/business/financial figure, the controversial iconoclast was also a rising talent in the world of talk radio. Until taking leave this week to join the Trump campaign, Bannon has served during the past year as the anchor/lead personality on the “Breitbart News Daily” 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET program on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Patriot” channel – a position he performed so effectively that it landed him on the 2016 edition of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I distinctly got the impression, talking to Bannon, that he viewed himself as a ‘team-player’ in an ensemble production and not as the specific star of the show. However, the TALKERS editors felt that he was a very distinct and powerful voice on the program worthy of inclusion on the prestigious list which focuses on stand-out personalities.” Harrison adds, “There is an irony to Bannon now finding himself on the same team with former Fox News Channel head Roger Ailes – also involved with the Trump camp as a consultant. Bannon viewed Fox as being a significantly different type of news reporting agency than Breitbart and aggressively approached the organization as a prime competitor. He seemed quite proud of his depiction of Breitbart as being more news and journalistically oriented than Fox – as well as the rest of today’s big news media players – and more about reporting facts than personality-oriented opinion. This could be an example of politics making strange bedfellows.”
WEEI, Boston Morning Personality John Dennis Steps Away from Daily Duties. After 19 years as co-host of the morning show on Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston, John Dennis is leaving his role as co-host of the program to deal with health issues. In a statement announcing the move, Dennis says he’s making the decision on the advice of his doctors that he reduce his workload. Dennis has been partnered with Gerry Callahan since the show launched. Kirk Minihane joined the program in 2013. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary says the show will continue with Callahan and Minihane. “John is a Boston radio icon and will remain an important part of the WEEI family going forward. To that end, we have been working with John to define a new role for his considerable talents.” Zachary says Dennis will work with station advertisers, act as an ambassador to sponsors and community organizations, and occasionally host WEEI programs. “Most important to him is that John will continue his compassionate work with our annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and will appear in our live broadcasts from Fenway Park, August 29 and 30.” In April of 2015, Dennis took a leave of absence from the station to enter rehab for alcoholism.
Jan Mickelson Returns to WHO, Des Moines Airwaves. After suffering a stroke in November of last year that made him unable to host his daily 9:00 am to 11:30 am show on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines, Jan Mickelson returned to the air hosting a half-hour segment of his program live from the Iowa State Fair yesterday (8/18). Mickelson’s show has been hosted by fill-in personalities since last fall. Mickelson told KCCI-TV, Des Moines that after suffering the stroke and being treated in Iowa he traveled to China for a 2,400 needle acupuncture treatment and says he has a lot of his mobility back. Mickelson will continue to host the 11:00 am to 11:30 am portion of the show as he continues to rehabilitate.
Jeff Smulyan Offers to Take Emmis Communications Private. Via his E Acquisition Corp., Emmis Communications chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan is offering to take Emmis private by acquiring outstanding, publicly held shares of Emmis for $4.10 per share in cash. That’s a 3% premium above the August 18 closing price of Emmis’ stock ($4.00). Smulyan has backing lined up from Falcon Investment Advisors. The offer also includes the commitment to sell many of its publishing assets as well as WLIB-AM, New York and its four Terre Haute, Indiana signals – country WTHI, classic rock WWVR, hot AC WFNB, and sports talk simulcast WFNF/W258BA.
The Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of August 15-19. The presidential campaign, including Donald Trump’s staff changes that bring Breitbart chief Stephen K. Bannon aboard to head the campaign, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Close behind at #2 was the aftermath of the shooting death of an armed black man by police in Milwaukee. Coming in at #3 was the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the controversy over a phony robbery claim by U.S. swimmers, followed by the battle for Aleppo and Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. If you live in the Charlotte area, you might want to know that Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM is seeking an experienced board operator. It’s a part-time position of between 15 and 20 hours per week, including nights and weekends. If you’re interested, contact program director Jason Furst at firstname.lastname@example.org …..High School athletics is on the schedule this school year at E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee’s digital platform. “Preps Live” is broadcasting high school football play-by-play in 2016, airing 26 contests via WTMJ.COM and the WTMJ Radio App.
Community Conversation. On Wednesday afternoon, E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee held a “Community Conversation” to address the shooting death of a young black man by a Milwaukee police officer and the protests that followed. WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer tells TALKERS magazine, “The community response has been overwhelming. It’s WTMJ’s responsibility to help provide some longer-term historical context on this story. The visceral reactions to Saturday’s events need to be countered with real in-depth perspective. It’s really the story of a decades-long shift in the economy and social structure of an American city. Similar stories have unfolded across the country, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. These stories require more than ‘video showbiz’ of demonstrations and quick sound bites. We hope to make a difference, with a more thoughtful and deeper approach in our coverage.” Pictured here in the WTMJ studio are (clockwise from the left): WTMJ afternoon anchor/host, John Mercure; Reverend Willie Briscoe, minister, New Covenant Baptist Church; Toron Brown, businessman and Sherman Park resident; Earl Ingram, president, Earl Ingram Media and former talk show host at WMCS, Milwaukee.