Archive for November, 2017
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — The watershed moment in the history of sexual harassment that started with the rapid downfall of Harvey Weinstein has claimed another victim in Matt Lauer, although let’s be clear, Matt Lauer is not the victim in this case, it is the women whom he is alleged to have harassed over a long period of time who are the real victims.
Many of us were startled to learn early Wednesday morning that NBC had terminated the contract of longtime “Today” show host Matt Lauer. The termination followed close on the heels of an allegation of sexual harassment that was brought by another NBC employee against Lauer. The female NBC employee, along with her lawyer Ari Wilkenfeld, met with NBC’s human resources and legal department Monday night for several hours to discuss the allegations.
Connoisseur Names Cameron Maxwell Regional Vice President. Twelve-year Connoisseur Media staffer Cameron Maxwell is promoted to regional vice president for the company. Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw says, “Cam has been a key part of our success in Billings, handling the day-to-day operations. We are thrilled to promote him into this new role. As regional vice president, he will have the opportunity to pursue regional synergies that will enrich our current operation and benefit our company throughout the region.” Maxwell will continue to head up the company’s Billings, Montana station group. Connoisseur Media owns and/or operates 38 radio stations in 11 markets with stations in Montana, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
ESPN Announces 150 Job Cuts; Effect on Radio Division Unclear. The sports media giant officially announces what’s been rumored for several months now – that it will eliminate some 150 positions. In a memo to employees, ESPN president John Skipper says the cuts will affect those in “studio production, technology and digital content” positions. This move comes seven months after it laid off about 100 people back in April. The company recently announced its new ESPN Radio Network lineup for 2018, so those on-air workers are safe. It remains unclear if any off-air radio staffers will be affected by this latest round of cuts.
Sean Hannity Subject of Huge New York Times Profile Piece. Talk media superstar Sean Hannity is the subject of a lengthy profile piece in The New York Times by Matthew Shaer. The piece delves into Hannity’s early support of Donald Trump, his childhood growing up on Long Island, and of course, the politics of his radio and television shows. But, for industry insiders, it also offers some tactical glimpses of how Hannity’s Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel programs are produced. Reacting to the NYT article, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated at this week’s editorial meeting, “Putting politics aside, from a purely broadcasting industry perspective, Sean Hannity’s accomplishments as a talk media host both on and off the air are nothing short of phenomenal. After decades of consistent performance, he has done something few talents are capable of pulling off. He’s made it to the top in both radio and television. He is the highest-rated cable news/talk television show host in America and one of the driving engines that has gotten the FOX News Channel through its most vulnerable period of crisis.” Harrison continued, “And on the radio side, although specifically ranked #2 on both the TALKERS listenership survey that reflects metrics and the Heavy Hundred chart that reflects influence, he has been locked in a statistical-tie at the top with the great Rush Limbaugh year after year for the past decade-and-a-half. Whether he admits it or not, the enormous influence he has on and relationship with the sitting President of the United States, coupled with the aforementioned facts, clearly establishes Sean Hannity as one of the most important on-air broadcasting figures of the modern era.”
Second NPR Exec Ousted After Allegations of Sexual Impropriety. As reported by NPR’s David Folkenflik, NPR chief news editor David Sweeney has exited the public media company after the corporation heard allegations of sexual harassment from at least three female journalists. Sweeney’s exit comes not long after NPR SVP of news and editorial Michael Oreskes was forced to resign his position earlier this month over similar allegations.
North Korea ICBM Test, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Roy Moore Case/DC Sexual Impropriety Allegations, CFPB Ruling, Trump Pushes Clinton Email Matter, Giants Bench Eli/Down NFL Ratings, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/28). North Korea tests a new ICBM that is deemed capable of reaching the U.S. mainland; the ongoing push by Republicans to pass their tax reform bill; the U.S. Senate campaign of embattled former Alabama judge Roy Moore and the related accusations of sexual misconduct by Senator Al Franken and Congressman John Conyers; a judge rules in favor of President Trump on his Consumer Financial Protection Bureau appointment; President Trump wants investigation into the Hillary Clinton emails matter after former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III claims Democrats harassed him for investigating the matter; the New York Giants bench Eli Manning and the latest NFL ratings; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Museum of Broadcast Communications founder Bruce DuMont announces he’s leaving his position as president of the Chicago museum when his term expires at the end of this year. Robert Feder reports that the 73-year-old DuMont “notified the museum board Tuesday that he will relinquish the leadership position he has held since he founded the non-profit institution in 1983.”…..The nationally syndicated radio show “Free Talk Live” – hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – announces new affiliates. Now airing the program are: KKGX-AM/K256CU, Palm Springs; KVBR, Brainerd, Minnesota; WOKR-AM, Canandaigua, New York; WTNW-AM, Jasper, Tennessee; and KABQ-AM, Albuquerque.
WZFG, Fargo’s Scott Hennen Brings Listener Group to FOX & Friends. WZFG, Fargo “AM 1100 The Flag” morning host Scott Hennen (left) stands with the “FOX & Friends” morning show (l-r) Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade surrounded by a group of more than 60 WZFG listeners who made the trek to New York to watch a broadcast of the show.
WFAN, New York Sports Talk Host Richard Neer’s Alternate Career as a Murder Mystery Novelist Continues to Grow. Those who follow WFAN, New York sports talker Richard Neer’s illustrious career recognize that he is somewhat of a pop cultural renaissance man. For more than a half century he has been a familiar figure to Big Apple radio fans as one of the legendary hosts on the old album rock giant WNEW-FM where he developed a widespread reputation as a popular music guru, and in later decades as one of the mainstays of WFAN as a highly respected sports commentator. His non-fiction best-seller FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) remains one of the definitive works on the album era and in recent years he began a new career as a prolific murder mystery novelist, penning a series of books about the adventures of detective Riley King. Now, Neer has returned to the book charts with a special Christmas short story about this character titled, King’s Christmas, which at press time ranks #4 on Amazon’s list of short stories in the mystery/thriller category. For a short time, it will be available for free download on several platforms at RichardNeer.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Washington adult contemporary WASH-FM names Jill Kempton to the program director position. Kempton moves from iHeartMedia’s AC WLTW, New York where she was APD, music director, and imaging director. iHeartMedia Washington SVP of programming Jeff Kapugi comments, “There’s been a lot of momentum on WASH-FM this year and Jill has been a part of that remotely. Now she gets to build on that here in Washington to dominate the very competitive AC format.”…..Service Broadcasting extends the contract of hip hop KKDA, Dallas “K104” morning personality DeDe McGuire for another four years. McGuire was the co-host of the syndicated Doug Banks afternoon program before she exited in October of 2014 to join KKDA. Her “K104” co-hosts include Lady Jade and Michael Shawn. As part of the new deal, the company is exploring a syndication effort for McGuire’s program…..Radio pro Scott Miller returns to the business after most recently serving as a regional brand manager for Harley Davidson to program iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WRVF, Toledo “101.5 The River” and serve as afternoon drive personality at sister rock WIOT. During his time with Harley Davidson, Miller had been doing fill-in work on the company’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland.
Craig Carton to Launch Podcast. While battling federal fraud charges in connection with allegedly operating a Ponzi scheme, former WFAN, New York morning personality Craig Carton will keep his talk skills sharp via a new podcast he’s calling, “Hello, My Name is Craig.” As reported by the Bergen Record, Carton announced the new venture via his website and says he’ll post a new episode on Monday, December 4. He made the following statement: “I’m so thankful for all my family, friends and fans that have stuck with me and reached out, as well as to the podcast’s sponsor Adorama, as we start on this new journey. It feels great to be able to broadcast again and bring listeners stories of some amazing people who will talk about their journeys of determination, decisiveness, recovery, success and failure. I’ve missed doing it and am looking forward to bringing my perspective to the website everyday with some fresh content and the weekly podcast.”
TALKERS News Notes. Talk radio star Glenn Beck announces a new CEO for his charity The Nazarene Fund, that raises funds to rescue and provide aid to persecuted Christians. Tim Ballard, who is founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad, will serve as CEO for The Nazarene Fund. Operation Underground Railroad “supports law enforcement agencies around the world in the rescue and rehabilitation of children who have been kidnapped, trafficked and otherwise exploited.” TheBlaze reports that Beck has “set a goal to raise $25 million in the next 12 months to help stop the persecution of Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities throughout the world.”…..The Radio Television Digital News Association announces the recipients of its annual scholarship awards for college students intent on entering the news field. Eleven students received awards this fall. See the list of winners and their profiles here.
GOP Tax Reform Plan, Mueller Investigation/Flynn Cooperation, Roy Moore Case/DC Sexual Impropriety Allegations, CFPB Controversy, Trump ‘Pocahontas’ Comment, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, Prince Harry-Meghan Markle Engagement, College Football Playoffs Scenarios, NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/27). The Republican-authored tax reform plan; the Robert Mueller investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the possibility of former national security adviser Michael Flynn cooperating with Mueller; the allegations of sexual predation against Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore and the sexual impropriety accusations against Senator Al Franken and Congressman John Conyers; the fate of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; President Trump’s Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ joke during a ceremony honoring Navajo ‘code talkers’; the Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping events; Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announce engagement; the possible scenarios for the four-team College Football Playoff tournament; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
‘Holiday Magic Coast Style’ Returns to Benefit Veterans Hospitals. The holiday album “Holiday Magic Coast Style” – charity album made available by “Coast to Coast AM” – is available again this year. The record features traditional holiday songs and its sale benefits various veterans hospitals across the U.S. Artists on the recording are fan-favorite guests of the Premiere Networks nationally syndicated radio program, including: best-selling author Whitley Strieber, author and paranormal expert Rosemary Ellen Guiley, paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren, UFO Phil, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, actor/singer Pat Boone and others. “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory also performs a special rendition of “O Come All Ye Faithful.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Washington, DC CHR WIHT “HOT 99.5” has a new program director as Rob Kruz moves from iHeartMedia’s CHR WFLZ, Tampa to the Nation’s Capital, effective December 18. This is a return to Washington for Kruz who previously was evening personality on WIHT and later served as program director and afternoon personality at the company’s WZFT, Baltimore “Z104.3.”…..In Huntsville, Alabama, iHeartMedia SVP of programming Erich West is taking on the program director duties for country WDRM. iHM market president Carmelita Palmer says, “After an extensive search, we determined that there was no one better suited for this opportunity than Erich himself. He has a deep understanding of WDRM, a passion for the music and station, and solid relationships within the industry. With Erich at the helm, I’m confident that WDRM will continue to be the country powerhouse in the Huntsville metro.”…..The twin sister duo Lulu and Lala are named evening personalities at iHeartMedia’s hot AC WMIA, Miami “93.9 MIA.” The two were most recently hosting the evening show at the company’s New York CHR WKTU. They had previously hosted the afternoon show on Cox Media Group’s CHR WFLC, Miami. WMIA program director Joey Brooks states, “We’re excited to welcome Lulu and Lala back to South Florida. Their amazing chemistry, fun personalities, and ability to interact with the MIA audience makes them the perfect choice for evenings on MIA.”…..Bonneville International names Mary Lea Wagner general sales manager for adult contemporary KOIT and CHR KMVQ in San Francisco. Wagner was most recently general sale manager for KSWD, Los Angeles. Bonneville San Francisco director of sales Steve DiNardo says, “Mary Lea is a Bay Area native and her return to Bonneville comes at an ideal time for our new organization.”…..New to the iHeartRadio platform is the new, original podcast, “Good Company with Jake Owen.” It launches today (11/28) along with the official start of Bobby Bones’ Nashville Podcast Network. The debut podcast shows fans a more relaxed, intimate side of the country superstar. In this episode, he chats with his twin brother and tennis pro Mardy Fish.
Garth Brooks Visits ‘NASH Nights Live.’ Pictured above (center), Garth Brooks poses for a photo with “NASH Nights Live” co-hosts Shawn Parr (right) and Elaina Smith (left) during a visit to the NASH Campus in Nashville to chat about his recent honor as the 2017 CMA Entertainer of the Year and to promote his new book, The Anthology: Part 1.
Peter Casey Exits WBZ-AM, Boston After 24 Years. Longtime director of news and programming Peter Casey exits all-news WBZ-AM, Boston. The Boston Globe reports that Casey has been let go by iHeartMedia, which is operating the station under an LMA until it closes on the station. WBZ-AM is joining iHeartMedia as part of a swap of assets with Entercom for the latter to comply with station ownership limits. Casey tells the paper he has nothing bad to say about iHeartMedia and calls the people he’s been dealing with “respectful and impressive.” Casey, who’s been director of news and programming for the past 21 years, wrote in a memo to staffers, “I will cherish the memories of this place, of all of you and those that came before you. I will keep those memories with me. I will keep them a part of me even as I walk out the door today on my very last day at WBZ NewsRadio 1030.” Assistant program director Bill Flaherty is serving as interim director of news and programming.
Lance Zierlein Returns to Houston Airwaves. Houston sports talk personality Lance Zierlein is back on the radio today at Gow Broadcasting’s KFNC-FM, co-hosting the 7:00 am to 9:00 am show with John Granato. The two will be joined by Raheel Ramzanali for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am hour that is being simulcast on KFNC-FM and KFNC-HD2. As part of his new gig, Zierlein will also write for the Gow-owned CultureMap and SportsMap digital publications. He exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown sports talk KBME back in July. During his tenure on Houston sports talk radio he also served with the former CBS RADIO station KILT-AM, where he worked with Granato for 10 years (1997-2007).
Westwood One Announces New Leadership Structure. National radio network Westwood One reveals strategic changes to the leadership and structure of its national sales team, effective immediately. The Cumulus Media-owned company says, “These organizational changes are designed to capitalize on Westwood One’s strong sales momentum, as well as to propel the organization to new heights in 2018 and beyond.” Bryan Forbes replaces the retiring Steve Shaw as president, sales at Westwood One. He’s responsible for leading the network and national spot sales organizations and reporting to Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes. Forbes was most recently with Katz Radio Group as SVP and general manager of Westwood One national sales. Current EVP strategic partnerships Mark Wildman is charged with launching the Audio Active Group – a newly established, dedicated business development team responsible for “creating integrated, brand-focused solutions that leverage the vast portfolio of assets across the company’s 446 radio stations and network platforms.” Pierre Bouvard continues in his role as chief insights officer at Cumulus/Westwood One. And Ari Molovinsky joins Westwood One as VP strategic planning & analysis, responsible for “supporting the leadership team with revenue-focused and general management initiatives.” Molovinsky was most recently with SiriusXM. Grimes states, “Westwood One has a top-notch sales organization in place, as demonstrated by our performance this year, and I am thrilled to welcome both Bryan and Ari to the team. With these new hires, as well as the exciting launch of the Audio Active Group and expansion of our actionable data and thought-leadership platform, Westwood One is poised to deliver significant growth as we continue to champion radio as the #1 mass reach medium that delivers exceptional results.”
Media Equality Project to Stage Event at National Press Club. The Media Equality Project is led by talk media pros Melanie Morgan and Brian Maloney. Joining them for Wednesday’s event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC is fellow talk radio pro Blanquita Cullum. A press release says the goal of the event is to pressure Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI) and Joe Barton (R-TX) to resign. Organizers say, “…We’re taking the Media Equality Project straight to Washington. Dozens of women and other victims of sexual harassment are joining together this Wednesday with this message: #ShowUsTheList of representatives or staffers who received taxpayer funded pay-outs totaling $17 million dollars. The Media Equality Project is bringing Bill Clinton’s victims, other luminaries, including Dr. Alveda King, niece of the late Martin Luther King, and others to Washington to confront Franken, Conyers, and Barton. We believe that this effort should be in a spirit of bi-partisanship in order to end sexual harassment on Capitol Hill and across the country…joining us at the podium at the National Press Club are Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, [and former Fort Smith, Arkansas TV reporter] Leslie Millwee.” The event takes place at 10:00 am in the National Press Club’s First Amendment Room.
Mike Golic Breaks Silence on ‘Mike & Mike’ Breakup; New ‘Golic & Wingo’ Show. Speaking to the Coloradoan, Mike Golic tells the paper that he was blindsided by the decision to end the show because now-ex-partner Mike Greenberg was taking on a new role on the TV side of ESPN. “When I went into see the bosses, I thought it was to talk about the next deal since our contracts were ending. We had talked the previous year about moving the show to New York and I thought maybe it was about that. Instead, they told me the show was going to end and that Greenie was going to do a show in New York and I was going to do a show with my son.” As regular industry watchers know, ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” morning drive show went on for about six months with the two knowing the show would wrap before the end of the year. Today (11/27), the new “Golic & Wingo” show launched (pictured above with NBA commissioner Adam Silver as their first guest) with Trey Wingo as co-host. Read the Coloradoan piece here.
DC Sexual Impropriety Allegations, Roy Moore Case, Thanksgiving Holiday, Mueller Investigation-Flynn Cooperation, Meredith-Time Inc. Purchase, CFPB Appointment, College Football Playoff Scenarios, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Holiday Weekend. The sexual impropriety allegations lodged against Al Franken and John Conyers; the sexual predation charges leveled at Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore; the Thanksgiving holiday; special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and reports of cooperation between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the investigation; Iowa-based media company Meredith to buy Time Inc.; controversy over Consumer Financial Protection Bureau appointment; the weekend’s college football games and speculation about which teams will make the four-team tournament; and the weekend’s NFL games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KYW-AM, Philadelphia Awards Computers to Local Elementary School. This promotion was a partnership with Comcast which, along with Entercom’s all-news KYW-AM, Philadelphia, presented 10 new Dell Latitude Education Series laptops to General Philip Kearny Elementary School in Philadelphia. KYW director of news and programming Steve Butler states, “As the nation’s unrivaled leader in news, Entercom is committed to enriching the lives of local residents. KYW Newsradio’s partnership with Comcast, allows us to support local community organizations like General Philip Kearny Elementary School in their commitment to education.” Pictured above are KYW and Comcast representatives with students and teachers at the school.
TALKERS News Notes. National radio news service Westwood One News is reporting affiliate renewals for major market stations including: WINS, New York; KYW, Philadelphia; WBZ-AM, Boston; and WWJ, Detroit. The news network also announces its expanding reach as more than 70 new stations join the network, including: KKOB-AM, Albuquerque; KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; and KOKC-AM, Oklahoma City…..SiriusXM announces former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin and former Phoenix Suns front office exec Amin Elhassan are joining the roster of NBA experts on its SiriusXM NBA Radio channel. Griffin makes his debut tomorrow (11/28) from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET alongside host Joel Meyers and can be heard multiple times every week. Elhassan joins the roster on Sunday, December 10 and will be on regularly with host Jason Jackson.
Small Business Guru Jim Blasingame Joins Michael Harrison on This Week’s Installment of “Up Close and Far Out.” Noted small business expert and talk show host Jim Blasingame is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Blasingame is the tremendously successful independently-syndicated host of the long-running radio show, “The Small Business Advocate.” The program is celebrating its 20th anniversary on the air. He and Harrison discuss various aspects of entrepreneurism as we accelerate from the analog era of the 20th century deeper into the digital age of the 21st century focusing on the increasing disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street in our economy and society. Harrison says, “Blasingame is a unique player in the talk industry and a fascinating, bright man. He proves on every level that independent media and business can still be viable in this brave new world.” 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. Classic rock WBIG and alternative WWDC, Washington program director James Howard is promoted to vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s DC station group that also includes CHR WIHT “HOT 99.5,” adult contemporary WASH-FM, and country WMZQ. Howard will continue to program WBIG and WWDC. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Jeff Kapugi states, “James has been a rock star for years. Now he gets to be an AC star, a country star and a top 40 star. This is a well-deserved promotion for one of the most creative programmers I’ve had the opportunity to work with.”…..Cox Media Group announces on-air changes at urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” The new morning show is called “Morning Groove” with Art Terrell and Roy Wood Jr. with news and information from Condace Pressley. CMG Atlanta VP of programming Tony Kidd says the show will include commentary, opinions and humor from voices like Clark Howard, Corey “Zooman” Miller, and Aaron Paxton Arnold. “The changes we’re making represent a new day dawning in Atlanta R&B music. This new programming lineup reflects what Atlanta’s African-American listeners want most from their favorite R&B station.” Also, Sasha the Diva takes over the afternoon drive daypart.