Glenn Beck and TheBlaze Countersue Tomi Lahren. TALKERS magazine recently reported that conservative media figure Tomi Lahren filed suit against Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze in which she stated that she’d been fired for espousing a pro-choice opinion during an appearance on television’s “The View,” that she’d been told to “go dark” on social media and had been shut off from her Facebook account. Yesterday (4/17), Beck and TheBlaze filed a counterclaim in District Court in Dallas that paints a very different picture of the problems between the two sides. TheBlaze states that Lahren has not been fired and is still an employee (is being paid) and therefore is bound by her employment contract to certain things that includes not making public statements or appearances that relate to her employment by TheBlaze or about its officers or staffers. It also says that, contrary to her claim, she has control over her Blaze-owned Facebook page. Further, TheBlaze claims that Lahren “quickly made herself into one of the most divisive people in media both to the general public and within TheBlaze organization.” It goes on to claim Lahren was difficult with fellow employees, had to be corrected for her choices of words that “repeatedly bordered on the profane,” “turned down a number of advertisers on TheBlaze for unexplained reasons, limiting any chance for TheBlaze to recoup its investment into her and her show,” and more. TheBlaze states that the employee agreement also requires Lahren’s public appearances be cleared by TheBlaze and Lahren is not complying with that. TheBlaze does admit that the appearance on “The View” was problematic but claims it had decided before the appearance not to renew her contract – it expires in September of this year – for the reasons listed above, among others. It went before a judge late yesterday afternoon seeking a temporary restraining order to force Lahren to comply with the contract. Additionally, TheBlaze is seeking unspecified damages, attorney’s fees and more.
TALKERS News Notes. A new esports show is being put into syndication by Westwood One. The show, “Checkpoint Radio,” is touted as “the first, nationally syndicated radio show dedicated to the world of esports.” A press release states that hosts Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard, and Joe Sloan are lifelong, passionate gamers that connect with this loyal, younger-skewing fanbase. Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes comments, “Westwood One is synonymous with best-in-class sports audio programming with over 62 million weekly listeners tuning in for live sports game coverage and expert commentary, and these passionate sports fans are also front-and-center with the emerging esports movement.”…..Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York adds the “House Smarts with Lou Manfredini” program to its Saturday morning lineup. Manfredini also serves as an “NBC Today Show” home improvement contributor…..TALKERS magazine sends condolences to the family and friends of Dick Penn, who died on April 15 at age 75. Penn was a former NBC Radio, Shadow Traffic and Navteq executive.
Julian Lennon Visits Cumulus’ Stage 17. Last Friday (4/14), Julian Lennon sat down with WABC, New York’s Rita Cosby for an interview before a live audience at Cumulus Media’s Stage 17 performance space. Lennon discussed the music of his father’s band The Beatles, his own music, and his new kid’s book, Touch the Earth (Sky Pony Press 2017). Pictured above are (from l-r): WABC program director Craig Schwalb, Lennon, and Rita Cosby.
Hunt for Facebook Killer, Arkansas Executions Controversy, North Korea Nuke Threats, Georgia House Race, French Presidential Race, Prince Opioids Stashes, and NBA & NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/17). The search for Steve Stephens, the Cleveland man suspected of killing a 74-year-old man and posting the video to Facebook; the SCOTUS’ denial of permission to Arkansas to begin a schedule of eight executions; the North Korea’s continuing tests of missiles and the U.S.’s concerns about Kim Jong Un’s developing nuclear program; the intense scrutiny of the Georgia U.S. House race for Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price’s seat as money and support from Democrats outside the district support Jon Ossoff; the build-up to France’s June presidential elections and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen’s notoriety; reports of numerous stashes of various opioids found at late pop star Prince’s home; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Sterling Chats with ‘Hizonner.’ Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Walter Sterling (right) and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (left) during their 50-minute, exclusive conversation for Sterling’s program. Kenney is holding and reading aloud a Midnight Misfit Membership card offered to Sterling listeners. During the conversation, Mayor Kenney gave considerable background on the controversial soda tax, plus answered tough questions such as: What is the best pizza? Are there really ancient artifacts in Philadelphia like in the movie National Treasure? And what station did you listen to growing up – WIFI, WFIL or WIBG?
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Portland triple A KINK announces Corey Foley and Mitch Elliott are the new hosts of the morning drive show on the Alpha Media station, effective May 2. Foley was most recently with CBS RADIO’s country KILT-FM, Houston “100.3 The Bull.” Mitch Elliott was most recently with Entercom’s crosstown hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz.” Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “We are elated to have found our soulmates to pair with Portland’s iconic KINK brand for mornings. Corey and Mitch are two uniquely talented, entertaining hosts with huge passion for the music, Northwest lifestyle and a love for the arts.”…..At Entercom’s Rochester classic rock WCMF, Michael “Mud” Gross joins as the new program director, effective May 15. He replaces Chris Crowley, who is moving to Entercom’s classic rock KGON, Portland. Gross was most recently with iHeartMedia at classic rockers WBGG, Miami “BIG 105.9” and WNRQ, Nashville “105.9 The Rock.”…..Matty Staudt is appointed to the new digital program director position at iHeartMedia’s San Francisco operations. In this role, Staudt will oversee digital strategy for iHeartMedia’s six San Francisco radio station brands, “working closely with the programming and sales departments to deliver key messages on digital platforms, including station and on-air personality websites, mobile and social media.”…..The syndicated country morning duo “Wilhite and Wall” add another station to their roster of affiliates – KMTB, Nashville, Arkansas “B99.5.” Tim Wall states, “We still have room to grow, but want to keep our station roster low so we can maintain the local content we give each market.”…..United Stations Radio Networks names Danny Ocean affiliate relations rep in which he’ll take over the management of affiliate acquisition and maintenance in the Northeast Region of the U.S. He’ll also specialize in guiding the affiliate marketing efforts for the company’s CHR and hot AC programs…..Entravision reports that the “El Show de Erazno y La Chokolata” adds two Texas affiliates: LBI Media’s Regional Mexican “La Raza” simulcast on KTJM and KJOJ in Houston and KNOR, Dallas “La Raza.”…..Cumulus Media debuts the new hot AC format (and new call letters) on WQPD, Florence, South Carolina. “Q100.5” features the “Bob & Sheri” show in morning drive. The station flipped from Cumulus’ country “NASH FM” format.