Skype Sessions Rub Some WH Journos the Wrong Way; Others Not Worried. Regular readers of TALKERS magazine are aware that the Trump White House has opened some of the press briefings to offsite news organizations and talk show hosts via Skype. Some in the White House press corps are reportedly irked by the intrusion of more media outlets vying for time with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer – some even more so allegedly because of the inclusion of radio talk show hosts. The first Skype Session (2/1) featured talk show hosts Lars Larson of KXL, Portland; Dale Jackson of WVNN, Huntsville, Alabama; Jeff Jobe of Kentucky-based Jobe Publishing; plus TV news staffers Kimberly Kalunian of WPRI-TV, Providence; and Natalie Herbick of WJW-TV, Cleveland. Tom Blumer writes in the conservative media outlet Newsbusters that some in major news organizations – especially at CNN – are upset with what feels like an intrusion. See his piece here. But CBS News reporter Major Garrett says in a story by CBS about the matter, “I cannot complain about more reporters asking questions. If the Skype questions are softballs everyone will see it. And if a White House gains a reputation for taking softball questions and avoiding tough questions, that will become obvious to the country.” Needless to say, talk hosts and local media outlets such as WPRI-TV and WJW-TV are thrilled to be able to connect with the White House press corps. As for the questions posed by the talk hosts, Lars Larson asked if the Trump Administration has considered its stance on what some in the U.S. West believe is the too-large amount of land that is federally owned. Dale Jackson asked if the administration has taken steps to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) immigration programs in light of the president’s tack on immigration policy.
Chris Rongey Joins WXOS, St. Louis. A third voice is added to the afternoon drive program “The Fast Lane” on Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN.” Joining Randy Karraker and Brad Thompson is Chris Rongey. He’d been with WSCR, Chicago for the past 14 years handling pre-game and post-game duties for White Sox games. He also served as an update anchor at the station and wrote for the suburban Daily Herald. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert states, “We are excited to welcome Chris Rongey home. He is a tremendous talent and will be a great addition to the ‘101 ESPN’ team.”
Entercom Surrenders KDND, Sacramento License. The Federal Communications Commission had been taking the rare action of designating the 2013 renewal application of Entercom’s KDND, Sacramento for hearing, due to the death of station contest participant Jennifer Strange in the now infamous “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” promotion. Now, Entercom announces it is voluntarily giving up the station’s license. The company states, “After careful consideration, Entercom determined it is in the company’s best interests to voluntarily turn in the KDND license to facilitate the timely FCC approvals for the planned combination with CBS Radio.” At least partly responsible for the FCC’s actions was the Sue Wilson-led Media Action Center which had filed the petition to deny for the station’s license renewal. MAC had also attempted to get the Commission broaden its hearing to include the entire Entercom Sacramento cluster. As of today, Entercom is moving the CHR format heard on KDND to its current hot AC KUDL at 106.5 FM.
iHeartMedia Names Mike Saffer Tucson Market President. Moving from his most recent position as VP of sales for Clear Channel Outdoor in Tucson is Mike Saffer, who takes on the market president position at iHeartMedia Tucson. Its stations in that market include news/talk outlets KNST and KTZR, as well as CHr KRQQ, hot AC KMIY “My 92.9,” hip hop KOHT “HOT 98.3,” country KYWD “97.1 The Bull,” and Tejano KXEW-AM “Tejano 1600.” About his new gig, Saffer comments, “I am elated to make the transition into the iHeartMedia family here in Tucson. Being raised in Tucson, the talent at these stations has always played a major role in my life. I am excited to work with those same stations to build upon their legacy and strengthen our relationship with both advertisers and the community.”
Pollnow to Lead Cumulus Green Bay. The Green Bay cluster of Cumulus Media has a new vice president and market manager as Don Pollnow returns to Wisconsin to lead the company’s six-station group. Though Pollnow has most recently been serving with LM Communications in Lexington, Kentucky as national sales manager, he served as general manager for NRG Media’s Wausau-Steven Point station group in the past. Cumulus’ Green Bay stations include: sports talk simulcast WDUZ “The Fan,” country WPCK “NASH FM 104.9,” hot AC WQLH “ Star 98,” triple A WKRU, and classic hits WOGB.
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicates “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WRRD, Milwaukee in the evening slot nightly, and at WCCM, Salem, New Hampshire for weekends…..ICYMI, yesterday during Westwood One’s Super Bowl LI pre-game and halftime programming, host Jim Gray did a recorded, one-on-one interview with President Donald Trump. He told Gray he was rooting for the Patriots, spoke about his friendship with Tom Brady, and discussed topics including sports gambling, concussions in the NFL, use of medical marijuana by NFL players, and how his immigration policy might affect Los Angeles’ 2024 Olympics bid…..Boston University-owned pubcaster WBUR, Boston appoints Brian Hardzinski associate producer for the local talk show “On Point with Tom Ashbrook.” Hardzinski served to the past 11 years at the University of Oklahoma’s KGOU, Norman.
Travel Order Court Battle, U.S.-Russia Relations, Yiannopoulos Berkeley Speech Protests, Iran Missile Test, Marine Le Pen’s Campaign for President, Gorsuch SCOTUS Nomination and Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The ongoing controversy over President Donald Trump’s travel order targeting seven predominantly Muslim nations and federal judge James Robart’s temporary restraining order staying the order; the relations between the U.S. and Russia and Trump’s comments to Bill O’Reilly about Vladimir Putin; last Thursday’s canceled speech by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos at UC-Berkeley after violent protests; U.S. response to Iran over its test of a missile last week; the nationalist campaign of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen; the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court justice; and Sunday night’s Super Bowl LI between the Patriots and Falcons were some of the most-talked-about news/talk stories this past weekend.
Chase Murphy to Program ‘Mix 96.5’ in Houston. Programming pro Chase Murphy joins CBS Radio as program director for hot AC KHMX, Houston “Mix 96.5.” SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Chase is a leader, a team builder, a talent coach and a builder of brands. He is the perfect fit for KHMX, a big brand with great heritage in the Houston market.” Murphy previously served with iHeartMedia as an operations manager and regional program director. He also worked with Entercom in the Greenville market.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Boston, “The Morning Wake UP” with co-hosts KJ Carson and Kesha Monk debuts today on the new urban AC WKAF “97.7 FM, Boston’s #1 For R&B.” Entercom split the simulcast of rock WAAF and WKAF back in early January and today is launching the new morning show. Chris Malone is programming the station…..Mapleton Communications promotes Tommy Del Rio from his regional program director post to vice president of top 40 programming. Del Rio is in charge of the programming for all seven of Mapleton’s CHR-formatted stations…..In the Yakima market, Brian Henderson and Todd E. Lyons Esq. are being paired up for mornings on Townsquare Media’s active rock KATS. Henderson previously served as PD for Radio Yakima’s crosstown classic rocker KRSE “105.7 The Hawk.” In addition to morning show duties, Henderson is handling the brand manager position at KATS…..Brazos Valley Communications appoints Shalayna Valencia regional director of events & digital for its stations in both the Odessa-Midland and Bryan-College Station markets. Valencia was previously market president for Townsquare Media’s Odessa-Midland operations…..Radio pro Sari Zalesin joins the marketing division at mobile app developer jacapps. At the same time, the company promotes Alex Burnstein to the new position, director of marketing.
PPM Analysis: AC and the 2016 Holiday Survey. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a detailed breakdown of the (6+) performances of adult contemporary outlets based on data from the 2016 Holiday PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. See which stations benefitted the most from the infusion of Christmas music, as well as how AC-formatted stations performed compared to the 2015 Holiday survey, plus more. See it all here.