KMOX, St. Louis Extends Calhoun and Ackerman. St. Louis heritage news/talk KMOX announces it has signed staffers Michael Calhoun and Tom Ackerman to new, multi-year contracts that include some new duties for both. Calhoun and Ackerman are part of the CBS RADIO station’s “Total Information AM” morning drive program – Calhoun as co-host and news reporter and Ackerman as a personality and the station’s sports director. KMOX program director Steve Moore states, “Tom and Michael are talented personalities who play integral roles at the station. Tom was born and raised in St. Louis so reporting the news and sports in the city he loves is a natural progression for him. Michael is an award-winning field reporter who brings a unique voice to KMOX that instantly connects with listeners.” Ackerman expands his role to serve as co-host of “Total Information AM” alongside Debbie Monterrey and Calhoun. Calhoun adds field and spot news reporting to his responsibilities. Calhoun will also continue to serve as KMOX’s lead reporter on St. Louis’ “Start Up, Entrepreneurs and Innovation” initiatives and continue to host “Nothing Impossible,” a show that informs listeners about how innovators are transforming and revitalizing the St. Louis region.
Grayson Exits KMOX; Headed for Crosstown KTRS? A report by Joe Holleman in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Jon Grayson has exited CBS RADIO’s news/talk KMOX where he was hosting the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am show. Grayson’s “Overnight America” show had been syndicated nationally in a deal with Westwood One but that was shut down at the end of 2016. Now, after 16 years at KMOX, Grayson may be headed across the street to news/talker KTRS. Holleman reports that’s the industry chatter. KTRS reportedly has an opening for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show. The station also recently hired former KMOX personality Doug McElvein.
Madison Talk Host Mitch Henck Moves Forward on Digital Platform. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian writes about Madison talk radio personality Mitch Henck – one of a number of personalities cut free with the demise of the progressive talk format on iHeartMedia’s WXXM, Madison last fall. Henck has recently launched the web-based platform MadisonTalks.com, where his program and others continue to provide the market with “outside the box” digital content. Though he was heard on WXXM for years, Henck says his political leanings are not so easily qualified. “I am center-right on economics and more libertarian on social issues. I like splitting hairs and challenging callers to make their argument.” Read the whole story here.
11th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Scheduled for June 28-29. This year’s 11th annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire/Let’s Make America Great Again radio row broadcast will take place on June 28 and 29 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is again producing the event at which talk hosts from across the country will broadcast live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, White House officials and those who live and work along the southern border. FAIR executive director Bob Dane states, “This event has always been about holding our elected leaders accountable and educating the public. In particular, this year, lawmakers must be reminded that Americans strongly support President Trump’s immigration policies. Otherwise, the noise made by vocal special interests – which the mainstream media loves to amplify – will dominate. Talk radio remains the bullhorn of the ‘silent’ majority.” Reservations are required and hosts/producers should contact event manager Cassie Williams at 202-328-7004 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve their spot. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering and expenses are taken care of by FAIR. Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews with an expected crowd of 60 talk hosts.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Touts AM Revitalization at NABA Symposium. The new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission addressed the attendees at yesterday’s “Future of Radio and Audio” symposium presented by the North American Broadcasters Association. Among the topics he discussed was AM revitalization. He kicked that off by stating, “It’s no secret that many stations in the AM band are struggling. The band’s overall listenership has declined, and advertising revenues along with it. This stems mainly from the band’s technical problems. Every day, it seems harder to get a quality AM signal.” Pai boiled his solution down to the two-pronged approach of making it easier for AM operators to acquire FM translators and encouraging the activation and use of FM chips in smartphones. Regarding FM translators, Pai said AM station owners have complained that it can be difficult finding a location for translators. “That’s why we’ve proposed a new reform that my fellow Commissioners and I will vote on next week. This measure would give AM stations greater flexibility in siting their translators. It’s a small step that would be a big help to AM broadcasters. This year, we also plan to open two new windows in which AM stations that still don’t have an FM translator can apply directly to the FCC to get one authorized. And we’ll keep working on ways to improve signal quality on the AM band and reduce AM broadcasters’ operating costs.” As for FM chips in smartphones, Pai said he’s against mandating those chips be activated – he’s a free-market guy who doesn’t approve of such a heavy-handed approach, and he thinks it’s outside of the FCC’s purview. He noted that in the U.S., “only about 44% of the top-selling smartphones in the United States have activated FM chips, and the percentage is lower in Canada. By comparison, in Mexico that number is about 80%…[but] despite the low numbers, we are seeing progress; in the last two years, the percentage of top-selling smartphones in the United States that have activated FM chips has risen from less than 25% to 44%.”
Andy Pollin Joins WJFK-FM, Washington for Weekends and Fill-Ins. Washington, DC sports talk personality Andy Pollin is no longer a free agent. The market sports media figure was recently set free by Red Zebra’s WTEM “ESPN 908” after almost 25 years at the signal. Now, he’s being heard on CBS RADIO’s crosstown WJFK-FM on weekends and in fill-in situations. The Washington Post reports that Pollin will host a regular Saturday show with (also former WTEM) personality Thom Loverro from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon starting February 25. WJFK-FM program director Chris Kinard tells the Post, “It just gives us more great talent. You can never have enough good people, and to have someone the caliber of Andy Pollin available is a pretty rare thing. He hasn’t been available for 25 years, because he’s done such a good job. So to have someone like that available, we’d be crazy not to work something out with him.”
WQAM, Miami Re-Ups with the Miami Hurricanes. Miami sports talker WQAM inks a new multi-year deal to continue serving as the flagship station for University of Miami football and men’s basketball. Pictured at the contract signing in Coral Gables on Thursday (2/16) are (from l-r): WQAM program director Ryan Maguire, “The Voice of the Hurricanes” Joe Zagacki, WQAM host Curtis Stevenson, Miami football coach Mark Richt, Miami athletic director Blake James, and WQAM host Joe Rose.
Nielsen: 2016 Election Year Good for News Radio. Ratings giant Nielsen issues data – illustrated in the graphic above – showing the rise in listenership to news radio during the 2016 election year. Nielsen notes that just as in the previous election year of 2012, the number of people tuning in to all-news stations, news/talk stations and public radio NPR affiliates spiked, making it the most-listened-to radio format by persons 6+ in PPM markets during 2016.
Allegations of Trump Campaign’s Russia Connections and Michael T. Flynn’s Resignation Top News Talk Stories for Week of February 13-17. The allegations that members of the Trump campaign were in contact with Russian agents prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration and the subsequent resignation of National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Trump travel ban issue and the related Mexican wall matter. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s contentious relationship with the news media, followed by Andrew Puzder’s withdrawal as nominee for labor secretary 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.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Windy City radio programming pro Patty Martin is joining digital platform AccuRadio to program its world music and Celtic channels. He says she’ll also be involved in programming adult rock and adult alternative formats. Martin – who served in the market programming Hubbard’s classic hits WDRV and CBS RADIO’s triple A WXRT – tells Feder, “It’s all the fun of radio programming without the headaches!”…..KSWD, Los Angeles “100.3 The Sound” midday personality “Uncle Joe” Benson signs a new contract to continue with the Entercom classic rock station. Program director Dave Beasing says, “Joe is the best-known and most-loved classic rock DJ in Los Angeles. The reason is simple. He’s literally written the book on classic rock, and he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.”…..A new Sunday night show dedicated to the women of alternative rock is launching on Cumulus Media’s alternative KCJK, Kansas City “X1015” featuring host Lauren O’Neil…..iHeartMedia Fort Myers announces media personalities Lulu and Lala are joining hot AC WZJZ “Y100.1, 90s to Now” as 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight hosts effective immediately. The station says, “The ‘Y100.1’ night show with Lulu and Lala will feature the dynamic pair’s unique take on pop culture news and fun antics with listeners, along with special celebrity guest interviews and Y100.1’s unique blend of today’s hits and 90’s throwbacks.”