FCC Chairman Pai Vows to Remove ‘Unnecessary or Counterproductive Regulations.’ At his first press briefing as Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Ajit Pai told reporters that the Commission’s main goal is to “remove unnecessary or counterproductive regulations from the books.” These comments came after the Commission voted 3-0 to eliminate two requirements: (1) that commercial broadcast stations retain copies of letters and emails from the public; and (2) that cable operators maintain for public inspection the designation and location of a cable system’s principal headend. Pai says, “These measures follow directly from Commissioner O’Rielly’s diligent work to identify unnecessary paperwork burdens. In all, this action reduces regulatory burdens on commercial broadcasters and cable operators without adversely affecting the public interest.” It remains to be seen if a Pai-led Commission will move to end the broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership ban in the near future. Remember that Pai issued strong comments against keeping the ban after it was retained in the latest Quadrennial Review under former Chairman Tom Wheeler. Pai also did not comment to reporters about his plans to move to overturn the net neutrality regulations passed during the Obama Administration.
Buck Sexton Takes Over Host Role at Premiere’s ‘America Now.’ The new name of the show is “Buck Sexton with America Now,” and Premiere Networks announces that Sexton will begin hosting the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show on Monday, February 6. The company says Meghan McCain leaves the show to focus on her expanded role at FOX News Channel. Sexon has been serving as a regular fill-in for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Previously, he’s been a CNN contributor, and radio/TV host for Beck’s TheBlaze. He formerly served as a CIA officer in the Counterterrorism Center and the Office of Iraq Analysis. He completed tours of duty as an intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other hotspots around the globe. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott comments, “We couldn’t be happier to welcome Buck as host of ‘America Now.’ He’s smart and engaging, and his previous work with the U.S. Intelligence Community makes him uniquely qualified to lead conversations about the news, events and issues that affect all Americans. We’re confident Buck’s distinct perspective will resonate with America Now’s national audience and create powerful multi-platform opportunities for our partners.”
KXL, Portland’s Lars Larson Joins White House Presser Via Skype. At today’s White House press conference – in which four media outlets will be allowed to ask questions of Press Secretary Sean Spicer via Skype – KXL, Portland and Compass Media Networks-syndicated talk show host Lars Larson will be taking part in the event. The White House announced the launch of the “Skype Seats,” designed to allow media outside of Washington to participate in the daily White House press briefings. Larson says in a statement, “For a long time I wished I had the opportunity to ask questions at a White House briefing. In fact, I’d love to ask questions every day. Years ago I actually inquired about what it would take to get a one- or two-day pass to go to the White House briefing. I would be willing to fly to DC and do that, but you’d only get that one opportunity and not the daily opportunity the major media get.” Larson will be able to ask his question around 2:00 pm ET.
Trump Travel Order/Protests, Gorsuch Nominated for SCOTUS, Sanctuary Cities Order, Dems Block Votes on Cabinet Picks, and Super Bowl LI Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31). The controversy over President Donald Trump’s order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries and the ensuing protests; Trump names U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch his nominee for the Supreme Court; Trump’s threat to sanctuary cities and the lawsuits planned by several of those cities; Democrats block votes on three of President Trump’s cabinet picks; and the build-up to Super Bowl LI were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Capitol Broadcasting Re-Brands WCLY; Adds FM Translator. Triangle sports talker WCLY-AM adds an FM translator at 95.7 and re-brands the station “95.7 The Ticket.” The station airs largely syndicated sports talk programming plus local and regional play-by-play. Capitol Broadcasting operations manager/program director Dennis Glasgow states, “We couldn’t be more thrilled that with our great weekday lineup and partners, our listeners will have an additional FM signal in Raleigh to enjoy great sports programming.” Capitol Broadcasting also operates sports talk outlets WCMC-FM “99.9FM The Fan” and trimulcast WDNC-AM/W257CS/W243DK “Buzz Sports Radio.”
TALKERS News Notes. New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett appears as the first guest on the “Forbes Under 30” podcast that launched today (2/1) on PodcastOne. The program is hosted by Forbes contributor and former PBS personality Steve Goldbloom. On the show, Bennett talked about his brother’s success in the league and why he continues to play football as he creates children’s books, apps and more. The focus of the new program is on “young innovators, disruptors and entrepreneurs who are changing the world. It features past and present members recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 lists, along with up-and-comers who match the profile of future list-makers.”…..Former Minnesota Governor, pro-wrestler and radio talk show host Jesse Ventura is launching a new variety news show titled, “The World According to Jesse,” on RT America beginning this spring. RT America says the program will “tackle both the current news agenda and deeper issues, such as government hypocrisy and corporate deception with Jesse’s distinctive take on stories sidelined by the mainstream media. Ventura will apply his uncensored, bold, and bare-knuckled approach to thought-provoking interviews and on-the-ground reporting alike.”…..As part of its strategy to deliver an enhanced visual hybrid radio station experience beyond the smartphone, TagStation is increasing focused efforts on the connected car. The company is hiring Derek Rohloff as VP automotive business development to spearhead inclusion in the next generation auto dashboard. TagStation’s activity in the dashboard space began in 2012, when it worked with a leading OEM to build a prototype for SmartDeviceLink. NextRadio and TagStation president Paul Brenner states, “Derek brings his proven expertise and deep industry contacts to the team which will help us ramp up quickly. The timing is right for the company, as we are poised and ready to showcase what we can offer to the automotive industry.”
Sean Strife to Program ‘Y957 FM’ Cedar Rapids. Named to the program director role at iHeartMedia’s KOSY, Cedar Rapids, Iowa “Y957 FM” is Sean Strife. He most recently was producer for KIIS, Los Angeles’ “On Air With Ryan Seacrest.” He also produced the “Jesse Lozano in the Morning” show and was an air personality at sports talk KLAC. He’s originally from Boca Raton, Florida and began his career in the radio industry in Gainesville and West Palm Beach before moving to LA in 2013. iHeartMedia Cedar Rapids SVP of programming JJ Cook says, “Sean was the obvious choice for this role – he brings his major market experience, format knowledge and industry connections with him to help ‘Y957 FM’ continue its strong growth in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City markets.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Mike Allen announces he’s leaving his home of the past 10 years – Entravision’s country KNTY, Sacramento “101.9 The Wolf” – for a soon-to-be-announced gig elsewhere. He’s been afternoon host, assistant program director and music director at the station. He’ll continue to host the USRN-syndicated “25 Years of Hits” country program…..There are changes to announce at Entercom’s Austin cluster: The company names Matt Wheeler creative services director for the whole station group and APD for adult contemporary KKMJ “Majic 95.5” and hot AC KAMX “MIX 94.7.” Sean Mack is appointed music director for KAMX. And Orphan Andrew is assigned the duty of voice tracking the KAMX evening show from his home at the company’s CHR KDND, Sacramento “107.9 The End,” where he handles middays…..The lineup is set for the Grand Ole Opry at this month’s Country Radio Seminar on February 22 – the kick-off night of the three-day event at Omni Nashville. Playing the show will be: Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Trace Adkins, Crystal Gayle, LOCASH, Cam, Michael Ray, Chris Lane, Carly Pearce, and Dailey & Vincent. The concert starts at 7:00 pm following the CMA Welcome Reception in the Performance Hall…..iHeartMedia debuts a new country station on Millman, Iowa-licensed translator K243CA (Des Moines market) branded “96.9 The Bull.” The Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show will be featured in morning drive. Market president Joel McCrea states, “‘96.9 The Bull’ provides an amazing opportunity for Des Moines by offering a wider variety of music and entertainment. We couldn’t be more excited to connect Des Moines country music fans with the hottest country artists.”