20th Annual TALKERS Convention Delivers Power Packed Day in NYC. The 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention took place Friday (6/2) in the Chelsea district of Manhattan and it fulfilled its promise to continue 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 comprised a roster of speakers addressing the most pertinent issues facing talk professionals in 2017. These included 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 were presented at the event. Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity received the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. Cumulus Media president/CEO Mary Berner received the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman. Emmis Communications president/CEO Jeff Smulyan received the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. Genesis Communications Network host Dr. Daliah Wachs received the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host. Hofstra University communications student Maria Santana received the new Alan Colmes Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievements by a College Radio Broadcaster. The entire convention was video recorded and will be featured here on Talkers.com shortly. Stay tuned for more story and photo coverage in the days ahead. Meanwhile, below are some photos from the event.
Michael Harrison (l) presenting “Woman of the Year” award to Mary Berner (r). Photo by Don Hurley.
Michael Harrison (l) presenting “Freedom of Speech” award to Sean Hannity (r). Photo by Don Hurley.
Kevin Casey (r) presenting “Lifetime Achievement” award to Jeff Smulyan (l). Photo by Don Hurley.
Michael Harrison (l) presenting “Humanitarian of the Year” award to Dr. Daliah Wachs (r). Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.
Doug Stephan (l) presenting “Student of the Year” award to Maria Santana (r). Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.
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Mike Kinosian (l) conducting “Fireside Chat” with Mike Francesa (r). Photo by Don Hurley.
Harry Hurley (l) presenting $1,000 check for Broadcasters Foundation to Dan Mason (r). Photo by Don Hurley.
PodcastOne executive chairman, Norm Pattiz addressing the convention about podcasting and local radio.
Salem Media Group, SVP/spoken word format, Phil Boyce discussing the “Trump Effect” on talk radio.
Joe and Sharon Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio discussing “Radio that Makes a Difference.”
Holland Cooke discussing the forthcoming merger of CBS Radio and Entercom Communications.
Cumulus Adds Eboni K. Williams to WABC, New York Midday Show. The WABC, New York midday program becomes “The Curtis and Eboni Show” today (6/5) with the addition of Eboni K. Williams alongside Curtis Sliwa. Williams is a Fox News Channel personality who co-hosts “The Fox News Specialists” daily at 5:00 pm ET. She joins Sliwa on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show after the recent departure of Ron Kuby from the show. In addition to co-hosting the program with Sliwa, Williams will also contribute to 77 WABC Radio’s social media channels as well as produce an exclusive weekly podcast that will be published on wabcradio.com. At the same time, Sliwa will continue hosting “The Drive at Five” weekdays afternoons. WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “Eboni breaks the mold for what a talk host can be today. She is equal parts intelligent, passionate, relatable, and exciting. Curtis and Eboni will be a must-listen in New York.”
Tom Poleman Promoted to Chief Programming Officer for iHeartMedia. The new long-term agreement between radio pro Tom Poleman and iHeartMedia comes with a promotion to chief programming officer. Poleman has been the president of iHeartMedia’s national programming group since August of 2011 and he remains in that position, as well. Poleman will also continue to head up iHeartMedia’s music discovery and emerging artist initiatives, including the Artist Integration Program and the On the Verge program, which have championed artists like Sam Smith, Maren Morris, Fifth Harmony and James Bay, as well as Sam Hunt, Bleachers and Lukas Graham, early in their careers. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman comments, “No one understands the intricate relationship between programming, on-air talent, artist relationships and live music events like Tom Poleman. He has always been a key part of the team that has shaped iHeartMedia into a multi-platform company. Tom’s unique vision has turned our National Programing Group into what it is today – an innovative nationwide network of the most talented people working as a team to bring constant innovation to our company and our industry. I’m thrilled that he will remain a key contributor in our company’s continued evolution and success.”
KXTG, Portland Names Dino Costa Afternoon Drive Host. Sports talk personality Dino Costa is taking over the afternoon drive program on Alpha Media’s KXTG-AM “102.9/750 The Game,” replacing the “Justin and Chop” program, starting today (6/5). KXTG operations manager Bruce Collins says, “I am thrilled to bring a radio star like Dino Costa to ‘The Game.’ Get ready Portland for an entertaining, informative, fun ride each day on your way home. Dino has demonstrated the ability to build and sustain an audience wherever he has been and we look forward to him being the dominant sports radio personality in the Rose City.” Costa’s sports talk career includes a five-year stint at SiriusXM and five years airing his show on the Radio Colorado Network. Costa comments, “I’m thrilled and humbled by this extraordinary opportunity and look forward to working with everyone at Alpha Media to produce a sports radio show that leaves an indelible mark on Portland. I look forward to justifying the enormous faith of those who brought me to the Rose City with a radio show that resonates with listeners and marketing partners.”
The Power of Live and Local Talk Radio. WPG, Atlantic City morning drive talk show host Harry Hurley today writes of an experience that he says he can’t believe happened. A long-time listener to his program sent Hurley the Purple Heart he was given for injuries sustained during the Vietnam War. Hurley writes that a talk radio program’s listenership can become “family-like,” and his interaction with this veteran illustrates this point. Read Hurley’s story here.
Greg Papa Show Renewed on KGMZ, San Francisco. Bay Area sports media pro Greg Papa inks a new deal with Entercom to continue hosting his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm sports talk program on KGMZ “95.7 The Game.” Papa is well-known to Oakland Raiders fans as the longtime voice of Raiders football radio play-by-play. KGMZ program director Don Kollins states, “Greg Papa is an iconic personality in Bay Area sports media and we are thrilled to extend his contract. Sports fans can look forward to an expanded role for Papa on our airwaves; it’s an exciting time here at ‘95.7 The GAME.’” Papa has been with KGMZ since 2014. He’s a three-time California Sportscaster of the Year Award winner. The station says that in addition to his daily radio show, he’ll make frequent appearances in morning drive with Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal and Dan Dibley. He is also co-host of “The Happy Hour” on NBC Sports Bay Area, host of Warriors Pregame Live and Warriors Postgame Live.
TALKERS News Notes. Radio programming pro Jimmy Steele joins Cumulus Media in Mobile, Alabama to handle operations manager duties for the company’s five-station cluster. In addition to overseeing operations for CHR WABD-FM, Gospel WGOK-AM, hip hop WBLX-FM, urban contemporary WDLT-FM, and news/talk WXQW-AM. Steele will also serve news/talk WXQW-AM as program director…..Ahead of Georgia’s 6th District runoff election, former GOP presidential candidate and WSB, Atlanta talk show host Herman Cain is bringing his radio show to Milton, Georgia next Monday (6/12) where he’ll tape before a live audience at the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm…..Longtime Baltimore Orioles play-by-play voice Fred Manfra leaves his post due to health problems. Manfra called his last game on Sunday evening (6/4).
Weekend London Terror Attacks/Trump Tweets, Trump Travel Ban, Portland Protests, Bill Maher ‘N’-word Flap/Kathy Griffin Blowback, Middle East Countries Break with Qatar, Wonder Woman Tops Weekend Box Office Battle, MLB Action and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The weekend terror attacks in London that claimed the lives of seven and injured more than 48 and the related tweets from President Donald Trump; renewed talk of President Trump’s travel ban that has been halted by the courts; the violent pro-Trump and anti-Trump protests that took place in Portland over the weekend; HBO’s Bill Maher under fire for using the “n”-word on his Friday evening program and the blowback against comic Kathy Griffin for her Trump severed head photo; several Middle East countries break diplomatic ties with Qatar for its suspected support of Islamic State; the film Wonder Woman tops the weekend’s box office receipts; and MLB action and the NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dr. Asa Andrew Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most colorful rising stars in talk media today, Dr. Asa Andrew (known to his audiences simply as Dr. Asa), is this week’s guest on the award-winning, weekly PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Dr. Asa just celebrated his 10th anniversary on the air with a daily alternative health and fitness radio show that continues to attract news/talk affiliates across North America. Dr. Asa, a dedicated media disciple of Dave Ramsey, discusses a wide variety of subjects with Michael Harrison including the potentially powerful role of credible doctor shows as ratings and revenue generators within the context of news/talk formats. They also talk about reality TV (he’s about to star in a series on the Discovery Channel) and Dr. Asa’s experiences as a student at the WCW school for professional wrestlers. Don’t miss this cool podcast. To listen to the entire program, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Detroit, afternoon drive personality Ian “Slacker” Richards is promoted to program director at CBS RADIO’s CHR WDZH “98.7 AMP Radio.” Richards also serves as music director for the station. CBS RADIO Detroit VP of programming Tim Roberts says, “Ian has demonstrated over and over an in-depth knowledge of the top 40 format, music and artists. He is also a natural leader both on and off the air for our staff and the WDZH brand.”…..Radio programming pro Jimmy Steele joins Cumulus Media in Mobile, Alabama to handle operations manager duties for the company’s five-station cluster. He’ll oversee operations for CHR WABD-FM, Gospel WGOK-AM, hip hop WBLX-FM, urban contemporary WDLT-FM, and news/talk WXQW-AM. Steele will also serve WXQW-AM as program director. Steele joins Cumulus Media from iHeartMedia in Reading, Pennsylvania where he programmed adult hits WRFY-FM and tropical WRAW-AM/FM and served as morning show host on WRFY-FM. Cumulus Media VP of programming operations Doug Hamand says, “We are very excited to bring Jimmy’s amazing track record and high caliber talents to coaching and mentoring our fabulous programming team in Mobile. Our great radio stations already dominate the ratings here and with Jimmy’s vision, experience and focus, there’s no limit to what we can achieve together!….Alpha Media Savannah-Hilton Head announces WUBB’s “Tim Leary and the Morning Showgram” and WFXH’s Ryan Koch were each awarded Connect Savannah Reader’s Choice Awards. “Tim Leary and the Morning Showgram” won “Best Morning Radio Show,” while Ryan Koch was awarded “Best Local Personality.” Winners were chosen by local readers of Connect Savannah.
WRKO, Boston 50th Anniversary Reunion a Huge Success. The 50th anniversary WRKO reunion (celebrating the now-news/talk outlet’s switch to its legendary top 40 format a half century ago) took place this past weekend (6/2-3). More than 80 alumni and friends showed up for a dinner on Friday night followed by a special Saturday night broadcast on the heritage 50k station. Local voice talent Jordan Rich interviewed dozens of attendees at the dinner. Nearly all of the original cast of DJs from 1967 were on hand for a fascinating re-creation of a truly fun time in radio. It was organized by the station’s music-era PD Mel Phillips, along with technical expert George Capalbo, Jr. of Backbone Networks (son of WRKO’s late technical architect George Capalbo, Sr.) and a number of broadcast veterans of that historic era. The Saturday night show was streamed live on Facebook and by the end of the program, approximately 69,000 people were estimated to be listening and watching around the world! Entercom VP/market manager Phil Zachary was praised by organizers as being instrumental in making the event a reality. Industry videographer/historian Art Vuolo was on hand to capture the entire event for posterity telling TALKERS that he hopes to have the video edited and complete before the end of June. Pictured (l-r): J.J. Jeffrey, Al Gates, Mel Phillips, Joel Cash, Chuck Knapp and Arthur Katz.