Former FCC Chairman Wheeler Criticizes Ajit Pai on Silence Regarding Trump License Revocation Comments. During an appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” program yesterday (10/15), former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler criticized current Chairman Ajit Pai, saying Pai’s silence regarding President Trump’s tweet about revoking broadcasters’ licenses makes him complicit in the president’s attempts to coerce the media. Wheeler stated, “He is making himself complicit in the coercion that the president was engaging in when he was trying to send a message to broadcasters saying, ‘We’re watching, and we control your right to be alive.”’ Also on CNN, current Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel added, “History won’t be kind to silence. It’s important for all the commissioners to make clear that they support the First Amendment, and that agency will not revoke a broadcast license simply because the president is dissatisfied with the licensee’s coverage.”
TALKERS News Notes. On Friday (10/13), Courtside Entertainment nationally syndicated radio talk show host Laura Ingraham (pictured above at right) broadcast her program from Liberty University’s Convocation, which kicks off the school’s homecoming weekend. Ingraham’s show was co-hosted by author and Eternal Word Television Network news director and lead anchor Raymond Arroyo (above, left). Ingraham is also scheduled to begin her nightly FOX News Channel program, “The Ingraham Angle,” on October 30…..Bonneville’s Seattle talker “KIRO Radio 97.3 FM” announces the addition of a new, weekly lifestyle show called “Cask Club Radio” created with partner Heritage Distilling Company, Inc. The program launched on Saturday (10/14) at 3:00 pm and focuses on the growing craft spirits, cocktail, beer and wine culture. It’s being hosted by Heritage co-founder and CEO Justin Stiefel, co-host Lydia Cruz, and producer Maura Dooley. Bonneville Seattle VP and market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Heritage Distilling has earned its reputation as a big-thinking innovator. With this new audio project, Heritage once again takes the broad view of how its products fit into the overall lifestyle and passions of people around the Pacific Northwest. We’re proud to partner with Heritage, and to help them blaze another new trail as a forward-thinking marketer.”…..Media sales pro John Fitzgerald returns to the ESPN Audio team as vice president, ESPN Audio ad sales. Fitzgerald, who has spent his entire 21-year career with The Walt Disney Company, will oversee all aspects of ESPN Radio national network ad sales, including talk programming, event play-by-play and Audio on Demand, which includes podcasts. He will report to ESPN Audio SVP Traug Keller.
Iran Nuclear Deal, North Korea Saber Rattling, Harvey Weinstein Scandal, Deadly California Wildfires, Kaepernick Files Suit, College Football, NFL Action, and MLB Playoffs, Happy Death Day Film, Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The state of the Iran nuclear deal and President Trump’s intent not to certify compliance; the ongoing saber rattling between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and President Trump; the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal; the battle against California’s deadly wildfires; Colin Kaepernick files a suit against NFL team owners alleging collusion to keep him unsigned; Saturday’s college football games; the weekend’s NFL action; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the new horror film, Happy Death Day were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Hyper-Local High School Football Play-By-Play. It was a scene out of “Friday Night Lights” (10/13) as hyper-local Pioneer Valley Radio (www.PioneerValleyRadio.com), serving Springfield and its surrounding communities in Western Massachusetts, launched its new sports department with live play-by-play coverage of high school football games. Pictured above in the press box calling the PBP between the home team Longmeadow High School “Lancers” and visiting Chicopee Comprehensive High School “Colts” is TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (c) joined by color callers Eddie Garibian (l), a Longmeadow senior, and Graham Topor (r), a Chicopee junior. TALKERS magazine is headquartered in Longmeadow, MA. Pioneer Valley Radio was launched in 2015 by publisher Michael Harrison and former WHYN, Springfield morning personality Brad Shepard as an experiment in local “personality-oriented, hyper-local public affairs radio.” Since then it has gained tremendous traction and become what Shepard describes as “a serious business and an important local media platform that is making a difference.” The expressly non-partisan station has expanded its menu to include a wide variety of programs covering local politics, civics, business, education, public health and safety, arts and entertainment and now, sports. According to Casey, who heads up the new sports department, “One of the most satisfying aspects of this project is giving local high school students the opportunity to sit in the broadcast press box and call color on the radio. These two great kids, Eddie and Graham, were fantastic! We plan to expand our coverage beyond football to include basketball and other sports and get lots of kids from area schools involved in our broadcasts.” All Pioneer Valley Radio live broadcasts are powered by Boston-based Backbone Networks.
NOT TO BE MISSED: Alex Jones and Michael Harrison Engage in Candid Dialogue About the State of Media and the Talk Industry. Prolific conspiracy theorist and mega-successful independent broadcaster, Alex Jones is this week’s guest on the newly-posted (10/10) installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” During the fascinating, uninterrupted hour of fast-paced conversation, the two discuss Jones’ role as a pioneer in the rise of digital, spoken-word broadcasting touching upon the balance between news and entertainment, the corporate effect on broadcasting, the influence of Hollywood on popular culture, Jones’ relationship with Donald Trump, 21stcentury entrepreneurism, the value of direct marketing as a method of generating revenue and much more. Harrison states, “Like him or not, there is no denying the fact that Alex Jones is one of a select handful of the most influential and important talk broadcasters of the modern era and has been for years. I am glad to have the opportunity to present him to the media world from that perspective.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, 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. At classic hits WRBQ, Tampa “Q105,” radio and television pro Rich Fields is named the new afternoon drive personality. Beasley Broadcast Group says in announcing the addition that Fields most recently served as a meteorologist at KCBS-TV, Los Angeles. His radio resume includes stops at KCBS-FM, Los Angeles; WCOF, Tampa; KODJ, Los Angeles; WFJO, Tampa; KNX-FM, Los Angeles; WYUU, Tampa; WSUN, Tampa, and KRTH, Los Angeles. He also served as Bob Barker’s announcer on “The Price Is Right” for nearly a decade…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes today that Windy City radio personality Gary Spears did his last show on CBS RADIO’s classic hits WJMK on Friday, taking calls from Chicago listeners and from fans across the country. Spears is retiring from the station and plans to relocate to Florida. Feder notes that Spears “was one of the original jocks when CBS RADIO turned WBBM FM 96.3 into a Top 40 station. His first run there from 1982 to 1984 was followed by a second from 1990 to 1994.”…..Country station WCKN, Charleston, South Carolina “92.5 Kickin’ Country” names Jess Jennings program director. She comes to the Charleston Radio Group station from her most recent gig at country KUPI, Idaho Falls, Idaho. Group operations manager Stephen Crumbley says, “After an intense search, we are very happy to have Jess join our team here at CRG. Her on-air talent and programming skills are a perfect fit…..Denver radio personality Kendall B is back on the air in the Mile High City at Max Media’s rhythmic AC KJHM “Jammin’ 101.5” in the morning drive daypart. Kendall B had most recently been at Entercom’s crosstown rhythmic CHR KQKS “KS1075.” Max Media Denver general manager Jeff Norman says, “Kendall B has been waking the Denver market for over 15 years and I couldn’t be prouder to have him apart of the Max Media and ‘Jammin’ 101.5’ family.”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports that iHeartMedia names Bo Money program director at hip hop WZRL, Indianapolis “Real 98.3.” Money is also hosting afternoons on the station and will serve as a regional urban programmer for the company…..Also from Indiana Radio Watch, the price tag for WKHL, West LaFayette that Woof Boom Radio is paying for the class A FM station is $608,000. The seller is non-profit operator Educational Media Foundation. IRW reports that “once the sale closes, Woof Boom Radio Lafayette will own 90% with managing partner Jim Ducey, a.k.a. Jim Stone, owning 10%. Ducey will become GM of WKHL.”
PPM Analysis: Adult Contemporary. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the final analysis of radio station performances based on data from the September 2017 Nielsen Audio PPM survey, today focusing on adult contemporary. Comparing September performances to data from the August 2017 survey, Kinosian notes that “only one of every three eligible adult contemporary facilities in our sample (33%) improves between August 2017 – September 2017 (6+), while 57% are down; the remaining 10% of the panel is steady (6+).” Going back to the September survey a year ago, “approximately four of every 10 stations (39%) on this particular adult contemporary sample improve year-to-year, while 56% regress; 5% of the panel is unchanged from September 2016.” A total of seven AC-formatted stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the September survey: WLTW, New York; WBEB, Philadelphia; WNIC, Detroit; WDUV, Tampa; KSFI, Salt Lake City; WWLI, Providence; and WRCH, Hartford. See the whole report here.