20th Annual TALKERS Convention Takes Place Today – Major Awards Being Presented. The 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention takes place today in the Chelsea district of Manhattan and it promises to continue in its tradition of being a power-packed, valuable one-day experience for its attendees. More than 55 industry leaders from the ranks of ownership, management, programming, sales, technology and talent will comprise a roster of speakers addressing the most pertinent issues facing talk professionals in 2017. These include the complexities of news/talk programming in the era of Trump, capitalizing on podcasting at the local level, opportunities for talent in the current environment, selling radio outside the ratings, achieving an effective multi-platform balance, operating a professional broadcasting career in the perplexing age of increased consolidation against a backdrop of looming bankruptcy, engaging millennials, applying the latest technology and much more. The major annual TALKERS awards will be presented at the event. They include the following: Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity receiving the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech; Cumulus Media president/CEO Mary Berner will receiving the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman; Emmis Communications president/CEO Jeff Smulyan receiving the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award; Genesis Communications Network host Dr. Daliah Wachs receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host; and Hofstra University Radio student Maria Santana receiving the new Alan Colmes Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievements by a College Radio Broadcaster. See today’s agenda here.
WECK, Buffalo Announces Local Programming Plans with New Ownership. The class C AM signal was recently purchased by Buddy Shula’s Radio One Buffalo LLC and is announcing its intent to air a full-service format with a focus on local news. WECK, Buffalo (also heard on translator W275BB at 102.9 FM) brings John Zach aboard as news director, effective July 10. Zach is a longtime market news pro who served for more than 18 years with crosstown WBEN. He also served with WKBW and WGR. The station is adding CBS Radio News programming, as well. Shula states, “John Zach is the dean of radio news in Buffalo. We are very honored and excited to have John as part of our growing team of broadcasters at Buffalo’s Very Own WECK. His credible and trusted voice has been missed in our community.” Shula says WECK plans to increase local news coverage under Zach’s leadership and will be announcing the addition of some well-known Western New York voices in the days ahead.
Beasley Brings Raiders Football to Las Vegas Fans. Three years ahead of the Raiders’ official move from Oakland to a brand-new stadium in Las Vegas, Beasley Media Group is committing to airing Raiders games in the Las Vegas market, beginning this fall. Beasley EVP and COO Brian Beasley states, “We are absolutely thrilled to be named the official Las Vegas flagship radio partner of the Raiders. Our five radio properties are the perfect fit as the team makes NFL history with its exciting new move to Las Vegas. Beasley Media Group team is committed to providing the team and our listeners with the very best sports programming and entertainment experience possible.” This agreement was negotiated by Compass Media Networks which exclusively manages, produces, and distributes all audio broadcasts of Raiders football. Beasley’s country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” and news/talk KDWN will air pre-season and regular season games starting in August.
2017 Radio Mercury Awards Announced. Last night at Stage 48 in New York City, the Radio Advertising Bureau presented the winners of the 2017 Radio Mercury Awards. The Best in Show was a Motel 6 spot created by The Richards Group, taking home the $5,000 prize. Radio station-produced winners included Mattress Firm, written and produced by Hubbard Radio morning talent Jubal Flagg; Cyprus Air Fireplaces by iHeartMedia Creative Services; and “Baconfest” by Townsquare Media of El Paso. See all the winners here.
TALKERS News Notes. Unfortunate staffers at Easy Media’s sports talk WBSR, Pensacola received no warning that the company was “ceasing operations” after six years as a sports talk station and ESPN affiliate. The Pensacola News Journal reports owner Dan Weaver told employees on Wednesday morning (5/31) that he was shutting the station down…..SiriusXM is launching two new weekend shows to its Progress talk channel to strengthen its position as “The Voice of the Resistance” to the Trump administration. “Signal Boost” hosted by former Clinton campaign staffers Zerlina Maxwell and Jess McIntosh will premiere on Saturday at 10:00 am ET, with “#WokeAF” launching Sunday at 10:00 am ET.
Trump/Kushner-Russia Investigation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 29 – June 2. The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and/or Jared Kushner and Russian agents was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the status of the U.S. in the Paris Climate Pact. Coming in at #3 was President Donald Trump’s relationships with European leaders, followed by the flap over comic Kathy Griffin’s photo image depicting her holding Trump’s severed head 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. KFRG, Riverside “K-Frog” morning drive personality and music director Scott Ward is promoted to program director for all five of CBS RADIO’s Riverside and Palm Springs, California stations. Ward will oversee programming for AC KEZN, Palm Desert; sports talk KRAK, Hesperia; KXFG, Menifee; and KVFG, Victorville. CBS RADIO Riverside and Palm Springs SVP and market manager Michael Valenzuela states, “This is a very well deserved promotion, and I’m thrilled for our stations to have the expertise of one of radio’s finest program directors. During his 20 years with us, Scott has developed a deep understanding of what audiences in the Riverside-San Bernardino area want from their local station, from music to events to community involvement.”…..Beasley Media Group flips from country to adult contemporary on translator K268CS as “Lite 101.5 FM.” Cluster operations manager John Candelaria says, “‘Lite 101.5’ is the perfect choice for the adult modern listener who feels variety is important in their music taste. The station has a playlist that includes the best songs from the 80s, 90s, sprinkled in with some 70s and today’s hits from Maroon 5, Adele and Bruno Mars. The new format is a great addition to our Las Vegas Cluster of stations.”…..CMT and iHeartMedia announce iHeartCountry will again serve as the official radio partner of the 2017 CMT Music Awards and will simulcast the live show from Nashville’s Music City Center on Wednesday, June 7, at 8:00 pm ET. The live radio broadcast of the telecast will air across 120 iHeartCountry music radio stations. Ahead of the awards show on June 5 and 6, “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan,” the Bobby Bones show, and “The Crook & Chase Countdown” will be on location conducting interviews with award nominees, performers and celebrity guests.
New Contract for Preston and Steve at WMMR. Pictured above are (from l-r): WMMR, Philadelphia PD Bill Weston, Preston Elliott, Steve Morrison, and Beasley Philadelphia market manager Joe Bell after the two morning hosts signed a new contract. Preston and Steve joined WMMR for mornings in May of 2005.