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Archive for December, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

| December 21, 2017

Yappy Holidays!  The TALKERS magazine offices will be closed for the holidays on Friday, December 22 and will re-open on Tuesday, January 2.  We will be monitoring all telephone calls at 413-565-5413 and will be reading all emails at info@talkers.com.  We wish all of our readers and sponsors a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Thank you for more than 27 years of friendship and support.

Charles Osgood to End Radio Program Due to Health Concerns.  Yesterday’s announcement by Charles Osgood on his syndicated “Osgood File” program that he is ending the 50-year-old radio institution on the advice of his doctors no doubt came as a shock to his fans (and to programmers who carry the “Osgood File”).  It was just a couple of weeks ago that Westwood One announced a new deal to continue syndicating the daily vignettes produced by the 84-year-old broadcasting legend.  But now, apparently Osgood’s health is not good enough to allow him to continue to work.

The Top News/Talk Stories of 2017.  For more than 27 years, TALKERS magazine research has been tracking the stories and people discussed on news/talk radio stations across the country.  At the end of each year, we publish a retrospective of the stories and people that resonated with talk radio hosts and their listeners during the year and rank them according to the attention they received across the format.  Below is the chart for the top news/talk stories and people of 2017.

WW1 to Launch Dennis Miller Feature in January.  It’s been more than two years since entertainer Dennis Miller ended his daily talk radio show that was syndicated by Westwood One.  Now, Miller is back in the WW1 fold to host a daily radio feature.  The company says, “Dennis will share his idiosyncratic take on topical issues, the culture, and what Americans are talking about in two distinct 60-second programs, Monday through Friday.  The new Dennis Miller feature will showcase his incomparable wit and wisdom and be delivered in the unique Dennis Miller style.  Each episode informs, engages, and entertains listeners.”  The new feature debuts on January 22.

Ryen Russillo to Quit ESPN Radio for New Opportunities.  The ESPN Radio personality was offered a new deal with the sports content giant but, according to a press statement from ESPN Audio SVP Traug Keller, “He has decided to pursue other opportunities when his contract expires next year.”  Russillo will continue to produce podcasts for ESPN through next summer, but his final radio show will be tomorrow (12/22).  Keller added, “Ryen has been a signature voice for ESPN Audio for more than a decade, also contributing to other ESPN platforms with his work on the NBA, college football and more.  I respect his decision and we wish him continued success.”  Russillo was slated to partner up with Will Cain for the “Russillo and Cain” show to air from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET on the network, starting in January.  Russillo says, “This was a really tough decision.  ESPN Radio means a lot to me.  Even though I won’t be sitting in a studio every day like I have for the last eight-plus years, I’m looking forward to working on a podcast and still providing content for the company.”  The Washington Post’s Cindy Boren speculates that Russillo “is likely to have opportunities elsewhere, especially with Barstool Sports getting its own SiriusXM radio channel starting January 15.”  No word from ESPN Radio on who might be paired with Will Cain next month.

WPEN-FM, Philadelphia’s Mike Missanelli Show to Simulcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia.  Starting next year, the Mike Missanellli show – heard on Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in afternoon drive – will be simulcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia.  Beasley Philly VP and market manager Joe Bell comments, “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to have Mike Missanelli’s show on both ‘97.5 The Fanatic’ and NBC Sports Philadelphia.  We recently signed a multi-year extension deal with him.  This exciting new partnership will be an added bonus for the dedicated Philadelphia fans who are passionate about their sports teams.”  The simulcast will take place from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, leaving the 5:00 pm hour to air on radio only.

Craig Carton Rumored to Be Talking with Barstool Sports.  As mentioned in the Russillo story above, Barstool Sports is launching a channel on SiriusXM next month and Sporting NewsMichael McCarthy reports that he hears former WFAN, New York morning drive co-host Craig Carton is in talks with the multi-media company.  Carton, who resigned from WFAN after being charged by the Feds with operating a Ponzi scheme, recently launched his own podcast titled, “Hello My Name Is Craig.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Here are two items reported by Dave Hughes at his DCRTV.com site.  First, Hughes says he’s hearing that radio personality Derek Hunter is leaving Hearst’s news/talk WBAL-AM, Baltimore.  Hunter hosts the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm program.  Second, Hughes was first to report that WTOP, Washington morning news anchor Mike Moss is no longer with the Hubbard Radio all-news outlet.  Moss had been with WTOP since 1996…..Former FOX News Channel star Bill O’Reilly is promising a legal fight with three women who are filing a defamation suit against him.  As has been reported in numerous places, Rachel Witlieb Bernstein initially filed a suit against O’Reilly and has since been joined by Andrea Mackris and Rebecca Gomez Diamond.  They allege that O’Reilly and FOX News violated the terms of the settlements after they publicly attempted to portray the women as dishonest and politically motivated.  O’Reilly’s attorneys argue that the women are the ones who invited press coverage of their issues in the first place.  The Hill notes that Mackris, Gomez and Diamond settled separate sexual harassment cases against O’Reilly…..SiriusXM is presenting a special tribute to the legendary comedian Don Rickles beginning at 6:00 pm on Christmas Day on its Comedy Greats channel.  Ron Bennington hosts the new documentary, “A Life In Comedy,” featuring interviews with some of the biggest names from comedy’s past and present…..Earlier in the week, TALKERS magazine reported that iHeartMedia will air the audio of all-news WBZ-AM, Boston on the HD-2 channel of co-owned WBWL.  The company is also making news/talk WRKO available on the FM dial via the HD-2 channel of classic rock WZLX-FM.

GOP Tax Reform Passed, Mueller-Led Trump-Russia Investigation, North Korea Nuke Threats, U.S. Life Expectancy Falls Again, U.N. Jerusalem Vote, Russia Rehearses European Invasion, and NFL and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20).  The Republican tax reform plan is passed in to law by Congress; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; North Korea’s nuclear threats against the U.S.; life expectancy in the U.S. falls for the second straight year due to opioid fatalities; the U.N. Security Council’s expected vote rejecting the U.S.’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and re-locate its embassy there; reports that Russian military forces have rehearsed a European invasion scenario; and NFL and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Amplifi Media’s Steven Goldstein is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the radio industry’s leading experts on podcasting and the digital extensions of traditional broadcasting, Steven Goldstein, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  Goldstein is the former EVP and group program director of Saga Communications and, prior to that was a multi-faceted veteran of major market radio including WABC, New York as well as the NBC and ABC Radio Networks.  In 2015, he launched and became CEO of Amplifi Media, a consulting firm whose main function is to help the management and talent of other media companies navigate successful paths through the wild frontier of the emerging digital era.  In an extremely illuminating conversation, Harrison and Goldstein discuss the programming and marketing of podcasting, the “internet of things” and loss of privacy, the developing impact of voice-activated smart speakers, generational media-consuming habits and the future of terrestrial radio.  This program is not to be missed!  To listen to the entire podcast 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. There is a settlement in the union battle between Spanish Broadcasting System and SAG-AFTRA.  This issue stems from the union’s allegation that, in March 2017, eight employees of SBS’s radio stations KLAX and KXOL in Los Angeles were unlawfully terminated in retaliation for exercising their right to unionize.  Under the terms of the agreement, all employees receive full back pay, interest and expenses through January 14, 2018.  SBS offered the choice of reinstatement or significant front pay to all eight employees, and most chose to return to work to their former positions at SBS.  A few elected to move on and receive front pay.  The agreement also provides that SBS must engage in good faith bargaining with the goal of obtaining a collective bargaining agreement, and requires a rigorous bargaining schedule.  SBS has agreed that by mid-January, it will provide to SAG-AFTRA an economic proposal, including specific dollar figures for wages and fees to be paid to bargaining unit members…..The rock band Ivory Black, hailing from Kansas City, was named the winner of Cumulus Media’s inaugural “neXt2rock 2017” competition.  The national and local grassroots search for the nation’s newest rock star featured live performances from the top five national finalists and a special performance by John Varvatos Records recording artist Badflower.  The competition featured up-and-coming rock talent via a national radio grass roots talent search and artist development program for rock music…..Country music artist Danielle Bradbery was one of the stars of WKLB, Boston’s Holiday Jam at the House of Blues on December 14 that included High Valley and LOCASH.  Some of the Beasley Boston staff is pictured below with Bradbery (from l-r): Santa Claus, WKLB music director Dawn Santolucito, promotions coordinator Christina Serrano, midday personality Carolyn Kruse, Bradbery, morning show hosts Hannah Byrom and Jackson Blue, afternoon drive personality Kevin Kennedy, and program director David Corey.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

| December 20, 2017

Beasley WMJX-WBZ-FM Exchange Is Complete.  The asset exchange between Beasley Broadcast Group and Entercom Communications, in which Beasley gave hot AC WMJX, Boston and $12 million cash to Entercom in exchange for sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub,” is complete.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “The addition of WBZ-FM to our broadcast portfolio highlights Beasley’s focus on premium local programming and content and is complementary to our five other radio stations and digital operations in the Boston market.  Throughout Beasley Broadcast Group’s 56-year history, we have actively managed our station portfolio with the goal of serving the communities where we operate with the best local programming and brands, diversifying our operations, managing risk and improving financial results.  The addition of WBZ-FM to our portfolio addresses all of these strategic objectives as it strengthens our company’s presence and commitment to locally originated content in the Boston market.”

WABC, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Says Goal Is to Be on the Radio for Christmas. The WABC, New York radio personality recently underwent an eight-hour surgical procedure for Crohn’s disease that resulted in the removal of half of his small intestines and half of his large intestines.  Curtis Sliwa tells TALKERS magazine, “I am now taking fentanyl for the pain relief – which is 10 times more powerful than morphine.  The goal – as I continue to receive blood transfusions and get fed through an IV – is to be home for Christmas.  The surgeons all said that they would be home for Christmas with their families and they agreed that the goal for me should be likewise.  Many of our listeners on Christmas have only their terrestrial radio as their friends.  Many are older, single, or are shut-ins.  Without radio they would be super-depressed.  It is for some their only friend.  This Christmas will mark 27 years in talk radio for me.  I will do a live program with my family on air and in the WABC studios. I’m lucky to be alive and I want to share my Christmas with all those who have no one to share their Christmas with.”

CBS Sports Radio Network to Launch New ‘Taz and the Moose’ Morning Show.  The new “Taz and the Moose” show will replace the current “Gio and Jones” program in the 6:00 am to 9:00 am daypart on the network.  CBS SPORTS RADIO says the new block of “entertaining, energetic, and engaging sports talk” will be anchored by professional wrestling world heavyweight champion and popular podcast host Taz, a.k.a. Pete Senerchia, and CBS SPORTS RADIO talent and TV host Marc “The Moose” Malusis.   Gregg Giannotti of “Gio and Jones” is joining Boomer Esiason for mornings on WFAN, New York, effective in January.  CBS SPORTS RADIO director of programming Eric Spitz states, “We’re extremely excited for the debut of ‘Taz and the Moose.’  As the host of an extremely successful podcast, Taz has done an amazing job of transitioning from a successful career as a professional wrestler into sports broadcasting.  Moose has hosted two popular weekend shows on CBS SPORTS RADIO since our launch five years ago.  I know he is ready for this opportunity.”

Michael Harrison Says “Radio Is Now a State of Mind” in TechRepublic Video.  According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, the culturally iconic paradigm of “radio” being a closed system consisting of a production company that produces and broadcasts a linear procession of scheduled programs in standardized parcels of time from a local building via a transmitter and tower to a specialized appliance with the capacity of AM/FM reception on a specific frequency licensed by the government is a limited and archaic definition of the term as it applies to the process of popular news, sports and entertainment audio broadcasting in the modern era.  In an exclusive video interview conducted by CBS Interactive senior reporter Dan Patterson for Tech Republic posted yesterday (12/19), Harrison says the aforementioned system still has some life in it in terms of audience and revenue but it is increasingly fading on both counts with each passing year in the digital era.  It is being replaced by the digital extensions of the original concept that include podcasting, on demand programming and a multi-channel array of branded programs that enjoy the non-standardized and unlimited manipulation of space and time.  Harrison says the traditional concept of “radio” that most of its practitioners and fans grew up with is now basically “a state of mind” that simply influences the spirit and flavor of a far more diverse set of products and listening methods.  The challenge facing the radio business at this time is dealing with stifling debt accrued during the waning years of the analogue era while comfortably transitioning into a digital revenue model.  “The digital age has made it difficult for all media that sells advertising to evolve into the new business model,” Harrison says. “It’s much more difficult to sell advertising for the same amount of money.”  He adds, “We haven’t really come up with a way yet to comfortably embed advertising into the digital space. It’s very obtrusive. It’s annoying.”  Harrison suggests, “For radio shows to be successful in today’s digital age, they must target an audience that is underserved and passionate about a particular topic and then gain credibility with them.  All of the content must be pertinent, good, and credible for people to believe in it.”  Harrison sums it up, “The good news for people looking to get into the radio business is that it’s easier than ever to get your foot in the door with the technology that is available today.  However, the bad news is that it’s much more difficult to fight through the noise to make your voice heard and brand gain traction.  For just engaging an audience, the bar has never been higher.”  To view the interview in its entirety, please click here.

GOP Tax Reform Plan, Amtrak Crash, North Korea Nukes/WannaCry, Trump Approval Rating/Hillary Favorable Rating, Jerusalem Capital Recognition, Sexual Misconduct Cases, California Wildfires, and NFL and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/19).  The Senate passes the Republican tax reform plan; the investigation into the deadly Amtrak crash in Washington state; North Korea’s nuclear threats and the U.S. government’s blaming the hermit kingdom for the WannaCry computer virus; President Trump’s approval rating sinks to 35% and Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating dips to 36%; U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley warns nations U.S. is “taking names” of those voting for resolution against U.S. recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; the ongoing discussion about sexual misconduct; the status of the Southern California wildfires; and NFL and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Programming changes take place at Radio One’s Philadelphia operation as urban contemporary WRNB adds new drive time shows.  Beginning January 4, “The Quincy Harris Morning Show with K Foxx” and “The DL Hughley Show” join the roster for mornings and afternoons, respectively.  Radio One says Quincy Harris is returning to radio after 15 years.  He’s been serving with WTXF-TV, Philadelphia “FOX 29” on the “Good Day Philadelphia” show.  Now, after two seasons on that program, Harris is hosting his own “FOX 29” show “The Q” weekdays at 12:00 noon.  A statement from the company says, “For the past two years, WRNB programming has ranked 13th to 16th in the 25-54 demo.  Although we share in our listeners’ admiration for our impacted talent, as this change wasn’t easy for us either, it is critical that we take calculated risks to re-imagine and reposition this station for long-term success.  Radio One’s commitment to the Black community is unwavering.  In fact, it is the impetus for our changes and the passion that drives our work daily.”…..At Riviera Broadcasting’s adult contemporary KOAI, Sun City West/K235CB, Chandler “Oasis 95.1 & 94.9” (Phoenix market), Monica Nelson returns to the station to host the 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm show.  Director of operations Marc Young comments, “We are excited to welcome Monica back to our company after a brief hiatus.  Monica is beloved for her sincere connection to the community and her fans.  Her wit, humor, and real-life experiences will once again be enriching the Phoenix radio airwaves.”…..WAY-FM, Louisville adds Ben Smith as community impact director/operations coordinator.  Smith has most recently served with Thy Word Radio Network in Evansville, Indiana…..iHeartMedia names Pedro Javier González has been SVP of programming for iHeartLatino.  González reports to Enrique Santos, chairman and chief creative officer for iHeartLatino and Brad Hardin, EVP and general manager for iHeartMedia’s national programming group.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

| December 19, 2017

Midwest Television to Sell San Diego TV and Radio Stations to Tegna for $325 Million.  Obviously, the bulk of that price tag relates to the value of the television stations KFMB-TV and the sub-channel that carries The CW.  But, included in the deal between Midwest Television and Tegna are the two radio stations – news/talk KFMB-AM and triple A KFMB-FM.  Tegna is the company that operates the television and local digital media outlets that used to be part of the Gannett brand before the company split, with Gannett continuing to operate the newspaper division.  The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the $325 million acquisition is a cash deal.  It cites a Tegna spokeswoman saying Tegna has no plans to make any changes to the operations of the TV or radio stations.  Tegna owns 46 television stations in 36 markets.  The San Diego radio stations will be its first radio properties.

KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Anchor Russell Mills Takes Part in Journalists Trip to Pakistan.  The program that brought KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa anchor and reporter Russell Mills (pictured) to Pakistan is a cooperative effort between the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord School of Journalism, the U.S. State Department and a Pakistani organization called Uks (the Urdu translation of which is “reflection”).  In the first chapter of his reports from Pakistan, Mills says the country has come far in recent years.  Back in 2002, the only radio and television outlets were run by the state.  Now, there are private media entities and Mills says reporters enjoy “a great deal of latitude in what they cover and how they cover it.”  But, he says they also “face the possibility of censorship, from both the military and civil government.”  He says the strict blasphemy laws complicate the journalistic process and physical danger is real: 14 journalists were killed in 2014.  Read his report here.

Boyd Named to Lead Cumulus Mobile.  This is a promotion within Cumulus Media for Don Boyd, who leaves his general sales manager role at the company’s Atlanta station group to move to Mobile to lead the cluster as vice president and market manager.  Cumulus Mobile includes: news/talk WQXW, urban contemporary WDLT, CHR WABD, hip hop WBLX, and Gospel WGOK-AM.  Cumulus Media EVP Bob Walker comments, “Don Boyd is a seasoned media manager and operator with an established track record in leading high-performing teams that grow station brands and drive revenue.  He will be a great addition to the team in Mobile as vice president/market manager of our five-station group.”

FOX News Radio Renews Deal with CMG for Brian Kilmeade Show.  The nationally syndicated Brian Kilmeade radio show picks up some additional broadcast hours on three affiliates and is added to the program schedule on another.  The new deal between FOX News Radio and Cox Media Group brings the Kilmeade talk show to KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the first time.  It also extends the airing of the show to 9:00 am to 11:00 am on WDBO-FM, Orlando and WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville; and from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton.  Kilmeade is one third of the FOX News Channel “Fox & Friends” morning show alongside Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt.

TALKERS News Notes. At news/talk KQTH, Tucson, talk show host James T. Harris exits the station after a six-year run.  Harris was a weekend and fill-in host at Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee before relocating to Tucson to host the two-hour midday show in October of 2011.  In September of 2012, he moved to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm afternoon drive daypart.  Scripps has not announced its plans for the afternoon show…..NPR reveals its plan for the afternoon “All Things Considered” program with the impending retirement of longtime host Robert Siegel.  The public radio content creator is moving national security correspondent Mary Louise Kelly into the co-host role alongside Audie Cornish and Ari Shapiro, effective January 17.  Kelly McEvers has been co-hosting both “All Things Considered” and producing “Embedded.”  She will relinquish the ATC role and continue to focus on “Embedded.”…..There’s been a change of heart at TV One, though it’s hard to tell if Reach Media syndicated radio star Tom Joyner’s call for a boycott of TV One forced programmers to reconsider canceling the Roland Martin-hosted news program, “NewsOne Now.”  Regardless, TV One (a subsidiary of Urban One) now says it will not cancel the program and is “working to restructure ‘NewsOne Now’ in 2018 under a new format that will better serve its audience and advertisers.”…..iHeartMedia begins broadcasting the signal from all-news WBZ-AM, Boston on the HD-2 channel of sister CHR WXKS-FM at 107.9 FM.

ESPN’s John Skipper Resigns to Seek Addiction Treatment.  The report that ESPN president John Skipper is resigning his position with the sports media giant to seek addiction treatment shocked the media world.  After all, Skipper had just signed a new multi-year contract and there were no indications (at least none reported) that something like this was an issue.  Executive chairman John Bodenheimer will slide back into the president role for the interim while the company seeks a new president.

GOP Tax Reform Plan, Soaring Dow, Washington Train Disaster, Obama-Hezbollah Drug Trafficking Allegation, Mueller’s Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-China Relations, North Korea Nuclear Threats, The Last Jedi, and Sunday’s NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/18). The politics of the GOP tax reform plan and reports of the public’s mood on the matter; the Dow rises 5,000 points in Donald Trump’s first year in office; the deadly Amtrak train crash in Washington state; the allegation an Obama Administration policy left the door open to Hezbollah-sponsored U.S. drug trafficking; the status of Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the tenuous relations between the U.S. and China over the Trump Administration’s national security policy; North Korea’s nuclear program and threats against the U.S.; the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi; and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Windy City radio pro Dave Fogel joins Kim Berk to co-host the AM drive show on Cumulus Media’s classic hits WLS-FM.  Fogel was most recently co-host of the morning show on crosstown adult hits WJMK, but Entercom quickly flipped the station to hip hop after acquiring it in the CBS RADIO merger.   Fogel had been heard on WLS-FM in the past – from 2010 through 2013 in morning drive.  With Fogel’s arrival, local weather personality Brant Miller leaves the co-host role and will anchor the weather on Cumulus’ WLS-FM and news/talk WLS-AM…..After last week’s shuffle of rock station frequencies in the Denver Region, iHeartMedia announces the flip to country for KWYW, Denver – now branded as “106.7 The Bull.”  The station launches 10,000 commercial-free songs in a row and will be an affiliate for Premiere NetworksBobby Bones morning drive show…..Urban radio pros Donnie Simpson and Tony Perkins are being reunited at Radio One’s urban contemporary simulcast WMMJ, Washington/WDCJ, Prince Frederick, Maryland “MAJIC 102.3 and 92.7 FM.”  Effective January 16, the afternoon show becomes “The Donnie Simpson Show” featuring Simpson and Perkins.  The duo worked together on Radio One’s hip hop WKYS-FM from 1985 to 1992.  For the past 20 years, Perkins has been serving with WTTG-TV “FOX 5 Washington.”  Radio One DC VP and general manager Jeffrey Wilson comments, “We are honored to deliver ‘The Real Sound of the DMV’ and that’s not better defined than the historic pairing of Donnie Simpson and Tony Perkins.  So, for the great people of this region we made it happen.  Donnie and Tony are back together for the New Year.  And with that new partnership, comes new opportunities to serve our communities with Donnie, Tony, and our friends at ‘FOX 5’ in the months and years to come.”  Perkins will remain with “FOX 5,” hosting Friday and Saturday mornings, beginning January 19…..Cumulus Media names programming pro Roger McCoy program director and afternoon drive host for country WLXX-FM, Lexington, Kentucky “NASH FM 92.9.”  McCoy has been with the company’s country WESC, Greenville, South Carolina as evening personality…..Rock radio programmer Russ Mottla is the new program director at NRG Media’s rock KFMW, Waterloo/Cedar Falls/Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Mottla has served as vice president of programming at Envisage Radio Group.  He’s also held programming positions at such rock outlets as WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire; WIYY, Baltimore; and WFNX, Boston.

Bob & Sheri Welcome Troops Home.  The nationally syndicated Bob & Sheri show helped welcome the troops coming home through the Charlotte airports as part of USO’s annual Operation Exodus.  Bob & Sheri helped provide “big smiles, words of gratitude and breakfast to 3,900-plus men and women returning from deployment and heading home to family and friends. Many of the troops traveling for Operation Exodus are fresh out of basic training and returning home for their first visit since enlisting.  Pictured above are Bob (far left) and Sheri (far right) with service members.

Monday, December 18, 2017

| December 18, 2017

Pittsburgh’s All-News KQV to Shut Down at Year’s End.  According to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the news does not mean a format change or sale to a new operator – the Dickey Family-owned station is signing off at the end of the year after 42 years as a news operation.  Robert W. Dickey Jr. (no relation to the Atlanta and Cumulus Dickeys) tells the paper, “Candidly, I think it’s a sad day for broadcasting.”  The Dickey family has owned or co-owned the station since 1982.  The historic signal has been on the air for almost 100 years.  Dickey Jr. adds, “It’s fair to say we’ve been trying to provide a community service.  The bottom line is I just can’t sustain the business model.  We’re an independent, labor-intensive format, and we were happy to take it on as long as we could financially do it.”  Barring some interest from a buyer or investor, the station – which employs about 20 people – will shut down on December 31.

Hubbard Announces Changes to Digital Leadership.  At the corporate offices of Hubbard Radio, EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler announces that Jeremy Sinon is being elevated to VP/digital strategy and Steve Goldstein is being named senior director of digital sales strategy.  Sinon was most recently the director of digital strategy for Hubbard Radio.  He will work closely with Bestler, Hubbard Radio president/COO Drew Horowitz, and Hubbard Radio chair Ginny Morris to oversee day-to-day corporate digital initiatives as well as the strategy for Hubbard Radio’s long-term digital goals.  Goldstein will split duties in Washington, DC where he also oversees the local digital sales effort as director of digital sales.  Goldstein has been at WTOP and WFED in Washington, DC for the past 11-and-a-half years.  As senior director of digital sales strategy, Goldstein will work with the local Hubbard markets to utilize best practices and maximize digital sales opportunities.

WBEN-AM, Buffalo’s Tom Bauerle Recovering from Successful Bypass Surgery.  The Entercom news/talk station reports on its website that afternoon drive talk host Tom Bauerle underwent successful quadruple bypass surgery at Gates Vascular Institute on December 8.  Previously, TALKERS magazine reported that Bauerle had been experiencing chest pain and, at the insistence of his co-host David Bellavia and Bauerle’s fiancé, he went to a local urgent care clinic and was then transferred to Gates where his heart condition was being evaluated.  At that time, Bauerle stated he believed he’d miss time on the air to recuperate and may not return until later in January.

TALKERS News Notes.  Embattled public TV personality Tavis Smiley says PBS “made a huge mistake here” – referring to the pubcaster’s decision to cut ties with his firm to distribute “The Tavis Smiley Show” to PBS affiliates after allegations of sexual misconduct were leveled against him.  Speaking during a live, sit-down interview on “Good Morning America,” Smiley said he’s never groped women nor has he coerced any women into relationships with him.  He admits to romantic relationships with women while working on his show but says the relationships were consensual and he can prove that.  See the ABC News story here…..An MSNBC spokesperson is saying that NBC made a “separation-related payment” to a former staffer of talk show host Chris Matthews after a complaint of sexual harassment against him.   The amount paid as part of a severance package for the unnamed, former assistant producer for the “Hardball” program is in dispute, but the company says after a review of the accusation, Matthews was reprimanded.  The Daily Caller reports that MSNBC deemed Matthews’ behavior “inappropriate and juvenile,” but not to be taken seriously as propositions…..Singer-songwriter and Sportsman TV Channel host Andy Ross has just released a new song – one that perfectly touches on the intersection of the holiday season and the turbulent political times – titled, “Make Christmas Great Again.”  Ross, who has been a successful host of “Maximum Archery” on the Sportsman TV channel for years, was inspired to release the new song given the political climate.  You can hear the song here.  Ross makes a great guest on talk radio and is available for interviews.  To book him, call Janet Fallon at 703-469-3766 or email her at Janet.Fallon@gmail.com.

California Wildfires, Mueller’s Trump-Russia Investigation, GOP Tax Reform Bill, Sen. John McCain Health, ATL Airport Power Outage, North Korean Nuclear Program, Pope Speaks on Media ‘Sins,’ The Last Jedi, and NFL Action Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The now two-week-old Southern California wildfires; Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of the Trump campaign’s connections with Russian agents and Mueller’s acquisition of key emails; the state of the GOP tax reform bill; Arizona Senator John McCain’s health as he returns to Arizona for treatment for brain cancer; a power outage at the Atlanta airport causes massive U.S. air travel problems; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and threats against the U.S.; Pope Francis says sensational journalism and fake news are sins; the latest Star Wars film The Last Jedi, and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

“Yappy Tour” Rolls in the UK.  Pictured above being interviewed by famed British talk personality (BOB-FM, BBCGraham Mack in London, England is Bernadette Duncan, author of one of the most-discussed radio books in the talk media industry, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Boozers, Schmoozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).   Duncan, a former producer, chronicles her 26 years as the woman behind the glass on shows hosted by such legends as Sally Jessy RaphaelLarry KingTom SnyderLou DobbsGil GrossCharles Osgood and others covering a large swath of modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.”  Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of quirky guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature including: Donald TrumpOmarosa ManigaultDavid LettermanJoe BidenMike HuckabeeGeraldo RiveraJoan Rivers and dozens more.  Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation and now internationally to both the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on into 2018.  Duncan has already appeared on more than 125 local and syndicated programs since the book’s release in September of 2016.  Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Guam Radio Broadcaster Ray Gibson of Choice Broadcasting’s ThePOINT is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Guam, a small tropical island in the Western Pacific, is the farthest outpost from the US mainland of all American territories.  Aside from its active tourism industry, Guam is home to a major US military presence and has long played a very important role in American geopolitical interests.  It is the American “tip of the spear” in terms of present-day heightened tensions between the US and North Korea.  In spite of its remote location, Guam has always been an active market for American-style popular media – especially radio – with a colorful history of outstanding deejays and popular music formats ranging from old-style, top 40 to CHR and adult contemporary.  Talk radio in Guam has mostly focused on local civic and lifestyle issues – until now.  In recent weeks, Choice Broadcasting has soft launched a new format called “ThePOINT” on KUSG 1350 AM and 93.3 FM that emulates the traditional American conservative news/talk radio featuring a local show in the morning and syndicated national stars throughout the day.  Such notables as Rush LimbaughSean HannityJim BohannonJohn Gibson and others have begun airing in this exotic land of Asian, Spanish and American culture located on the other side of the International Date Line.  The morning show that launches in January will be hosted by Choice Broadcasting managing partner and veteran Guam radio personality Ray Gibson who has been spearheading this initiative.  Gibson, a Guam native and second-generation radio personality (the son of Bill Gibson), is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  Don’t miss this fascinating and informative almost-8,000-mile telephone conversation!  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.  Country programming pro T Gentry is moving from Beasley Media Group’s operations manager in the Tampa market (where he also programmed country WQYK) to the company’s Augusta, Georgia cluster where he’ll be operations manager and program director for WKXC “Kicks 99,” effective today (12/18).  Beasley Augusta VP and market manager Kent Dunn says, “T has done a tremendous job over the past 17 years at Beasley Media Group.  He did great in Tampa, but has decided to return to Augusta to be closer to his family.  We are absolutely thrilled to welcome him home to lead our team and ‘Kicks 99!’”  Chris O’Kelly remains on staff as assistant program director and music director of “Kicks 99.”…..Charlotte country outlet WSOC announces the 11th Annual Stout Pull Guitar Pull is taking place on Tuesday, January 9 at Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte.  The live event will feature Dylan Scott, Midland, and Devin DawsonBeasley Media Group says the annual show draws country music fans from across the Carolinas to see their favorite artists collaborate in an intimate stage setting.  The concert benefits Loaves and Fishes and ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music.  WSOC program director DJ Stout says, “The Stout Pull has become a staple in Charlotte for country music lovers.  It’s a unique environment with all artists performing on the stage at the same time.  We keep the cost of the tickets low, so not only is it affordable, but we also give back to the community through music.  It’s a great deal all around.”…..Classic rock WCSX, Detroit received a visit from rock legend Bob Seger last Thursday (12/14).  He appeared on the “Big Jim’s House” morning show during which he talked about his new album, I Knew You When, his late friend Glenn Frey, and more.  Pictured below are (from l-r): “Big Jim’s House” host Jim O’Brien, co-host Erin Vermeulen, Seger, and midday personality Juline Jordan.

Friday, December 15, 2017

| December 15, 2017

CRTV Expands Content in 2018; Andrew Wilkow to Host Thrice-Weekly Show.  The digital video platform CRTV is announcing new programming to launch in the New Year.  Joining the existing programming will be a program hosted by Andrew Wilkow that will offer new episodes three times per week.  Wilkow hosts the daily satellite radio show, “The Wilkow Majority,” on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel.  He says, “CRTV has been rapidly signing talent and creating content for dedicated followers on constitutional conservative and libertarian thought.  I am honored to join the team led by Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin, Phil Robertson, Steven Crowder, Matt Kibbe, Deneen Borelli, and Gavin McInnes.  For those that love ‘The Wilkow Majority,’ this new TV program will be a natural extension.”  Two other new programs debuting in January are “Roaming Millennial: Uncensored,” starring YouTube sensation Roaming Millennial, and twice-per-week videos from Allie Stuckey.  CRTV is parent of the Conservative Review.

Friends and Stars Abound on Mike Francesa’s Penultimate WFAN Show.  Today’s final show will be a bit more subdued that Thursday’s program done live at the Paley Center for Media.  Mike Francesa says today it’ll be just callers and him, with the last half hour or so just him talking to his fans.  But, Thursday’s show involved a gaggle of friends and fellow broadcasters saluting – and ribbing – Francesa on the second-to-last day of his 30-year career at WFAN, New York.  Newsday reports the count of guests was 85 and included former WFAN partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, former WFAN colleague Don Imus, Carl Banks, Tiki Barber, John Calipari, Brian Cashman, Chris Christie, Bob Costas, Tom Coughlin, Victor Cruz, Dick Ebersol, Jim Fassel, Joe Girardi, Keith Hernandez, Eli Manning, Tim McCarver, Jim Nantz, Regis Philbin, Darryl Strawberry, Mike Tannenbaum, Lawrence Taylor, Suzyn Waldman, Bernie Williams and Kurt Warner.

CMG Radio News Pro Jamie Dupree Profiled by Politico.  He serves Cox Media Group as radio news director of the Washington bureau.  But, about a year-and-a-half ago, Jamie Dupree became increasingly unable to speak due to a condition that was eventually diagnosed as tongue protrusion dystonia.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for the rare affliction and it’s unknown if he’ll ever get his speaking voice back.  He still works for CMG covering the DC political beat because, as M. Scott Mahaskey writes in his piece in Politico, his Cox bosses realize that the connections and trust he’s built up in DC over the past 30 years are “really valuable.”  Back when his voice worked, Dupree was a regular contributor to not only CMG stations, but he made regular appearances on Sean Hannity’s Premiere Networks radio show.  Read more about Dupree’s story here.

SRN’s Greg Clugston Delivers Annual Christmas Poem.  News pro Greg Clugston continues the tradition he began 20 years ago – writing a politically tinged Christmas poem to the rhythm of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  You can read the entire poem here as USA Today printed the poem for international distribution.  Salem Media Group vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “We are proud to have Greg as part of our SRN News team and to know he has continued this annual tradition under both Democratic and Republican administrations for two decades.”  Clugston (left) is pictured here with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (right) after he read the poem to her and his colleagues from the White House Press Corps.

Roy Moore’s Loss to Doug Jones in Alabama Senate Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 11-15.  The special election for the vacant Alabama U.S. Senate seat that saw Democrat Doug Jones beat embattled Republican Roy Moore was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the various allegations of sexual misconduct against celebrities and politicians.  Coming in at #3 was the Republican tax reform plan, followed by the Trump-Russia investigation 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.

Live from London.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison sat in this morning for Doug “VB” Goudie, co-hosting with Kim Carrigan from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET on the WRKO, Boston morning show from his hotel room in central London using his trusted Comrex Access unit.  Harrison has been on a special UK radio tour gathering material on British media.  Harrison says, “It is amazing how reliable and in-studio-sounding Comrex equipment is, not to mention how easy it is to use.  We had to remind listeners throughout the show that I was several thousand miles away from Kim, producer Jim Clerkin and board operator Marita Mackinnon on the other side of the ocean and not in the same room with them.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull,” Alpha Media adds Jenn Hays to the “Tony and Jake in Mornings” and re-brands the show “Bull Mornings with Tony, Jake and Jenn,” effective January 8.  Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Lisa Decker says, “Following an exhaustive nationwide search it was clear that Jennifer Hays is uniquely qualified to join The Bull’s morning show.  She is very talented, a native of Portland, a huge country music fan and growing up, KUPL was her favorite country station.  She will bring her talent, wit, enthusiasm for Portland and country music home.  The next chapter for The Bull’s morning show is about to be written.  We look forward to a fun and compelling local show as Jenn joins her co-hosts Tony Russell and Jake Byron.”…..Spanish music radio pro Rico Hernandez is named by iHeartMedia Phoenix to the position of morning show talent and executive station producer for KOY-AM/K229DB “El Patron.”  Hernandez will continue to serve as midday personality on the company’s KXEW-AM, Tucson “Tejano 1600.”  iHeartMedia EVP of programming West Division Steve Geofferies comments, “We’re looking forward to Rico’s Spanish expertise and experience.  This is the start of a very exciting time for El Patron in Phoenix.”…..SiriusXM is presenting a special, invitation-only show at Los Angeles’ Troubadour on Tuesday (12/19) by Brian Setzer and his 19-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra.  This is the third consecutive year the show will happen.  The “Christmas Rocks!” concert will air Friday, December 22 at 8:00 pm ET on the Outlaw Country channel.

Music and Radio Pro Roxy Myzal to Retire.  Her career in the music and radio businesses spanned 42 years but now, Roxy Myzal is ready to take it a bit easier and is retiring from her current position with United Stations Radio Networks.  During her career, Myzal was music director at long-ago rock station WXLO-FM, New York; she worked promotions at Atlantic and Chrysalis Records; and served with Rolling Stone creating the “Rolling Stones’ Continuous History of Rock and Roll” radio show.  Most recently, she’s been with USRN overseeing its hardDrive brand.

Thursday, December 14, 2015

| December 14, 2017

Tribune Makes Management Changes at WGN-AM, Chicago; Manley Rises to Station Manager.  There’s a new management structure in place at Tribune’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago.  Yesterday (12/13), the company announced that VP of content and programming Todd Manley is being promoted to station manager and WGN-TV/CLTV president and general manager Paul Rennie will now have the radio station under his purview.  Tribune Broadcasting president Larry Wert made the announcements in a statement, making official changes to WGN-AM’s management for the first time since Jimmy de Castro exited the VP/GM position last fall.  De Castro is now serving in the same capacity at Cumulus Media’s Chicago operations.  Tribune is in the process of being acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose other radio properties are three stations in Seattle (including news/talk KVI and news KOMO-AM/FM).

Nielsen: News/Talk Top Format of 2017.  As the chart above indicates, ratings giant Nielsen Audio’s analysis of the AQH share ratings of radio stations across all the PPM markets shows that news/talk was the top format for all listeners (6+) in 2017.  Nielsen reports, “Overall in 2017, News/Talk improved on its success from last year, as did Adult Contemporary (AC) and Country. Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) had a down year compared with 2016, but it remained the top-ranked format in terms of audience share among kids 6-11, teens 12-17, Millennials aged 18-34 and persons 25-to-54. And listening to Urban Contemporary stations (also known as hip-hop) was much more prevalent among younger audiences, whereas News/Talk radio (the No. 1 overall format each year in PPM markets) rises dramatically as we age.”

Cumulus Launches Alex Skills for 300 Stations.  The company says it worked with XAPP Media on the rollout of Amazon Alexa skills for “300 local radio stations, popular Westwood One brands, plus the leading dedicated Christmas radio skill, Christmas Radio.  This is the largest collection of custom skills available with Amazon Alexa in the U.S.”  Cumulus Media adds that “this week marks the kick-off of a national consumer marketing campaign designed to educate listeners on how to find and enable skills, fueled by local on-air, video and social promotion.  Individual stations will create localized messaging that speaks directly to their unique listenership.”  Cumulus EVP of programming and content Mike McVay states, “Voice-interactive technology is bringing radio listening back into the home and office and will enable interactivity with our stations in the connected car.  Our strategy to create a custom skill for individual radio stations and programs, while educating consumers, is critical as smart speakers have created an entirely new, and rapidly growing platform to consume audio content.”  EVP corporate marketing/president Westwood One Suzanne Grimes adds, “At an aggregated network level, we will have access to valuable data and insights on this rapidly-evolving audio ecosystem.  We are dedicated to educating, testing, and learning to evolve the listening experience for our listeners and brand partners.”

PBS Severs Ties with Tavis Smiley After Sexual Misconduct Allegations.  This story was first published in Variety.  It says that PBS has “indefinitely suspended” distribution of the “Tavis Smiley” program that is produced by Smiley’s own company, TS Media.  After hiring an outside law firm to investigate, the public broadcaster states, “This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley.  The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.”  Smiley’s talk radio program was syndicated by Public Radio International from 2005 through 2013.  Daniel Holloway’s Variety piece says, “The investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates, sources said.  Some witnesses interviewed expressed concern that their employment status was linked to the status of a sexual relationship with Smiley.  In general, witnesses described Smiley as creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment that went beyond what could be expected in a typical high-pressure work environment.  Several expressed concerns about retaliation.”

Lewandowski Packs House at WPHT ‘Speaker Series.’ WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive host Rich Zeoli (left) interviews former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski during a standing-room-only appearance at the latest installment of the “WPHT Speaker Series.”  Zeoli says the capacity crowd heard insider tales from Lewandowski’s best-selling book, Let Trump Be Trump.

TALKERS News Notes.  Newsman Connell McShane leaves the “Imus in the Morning” show.  He replaced Charles McCord as the news anchor on the legendary program after his May 2011 retirement.  Don Imus delivered a glowing farewell “thank you” to McShane on the occasion of his final day with the show…..A change takes place at the executive level at the Radio Advertising BureauSharon Friedlander is named vice president, insights, effective January 2.  She takes over for Annette Malave who is leaving the RAB to pursue other interests.  Friedlander most recently served as partner/director at media planning agency MEC.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “We are extremely fortunate to have Sharon Friedlander join us at a time when insights and analytics have never been more important or more available for media, specifically, radio.  We’re delighted for Sharon to represent RAB throughout the research community, partner with RAB’s senior team, and to provide invaluable resources to RAB members.”…..SiriusXM is airing a schedule of 38 college football bowl games, including the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship.  The schedule begins this Saturday, December 16, with a lineup of six games.  The National Championship game is Monday, January 8 at 8:00 pm at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Doug Jones Victory, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Trump-Russia Investigation, North Korea Nuclear Program, Omarosa Exits White House, and NFL and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13).  The victory by Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special election for the U.S. Senate; the Republican tax reform plan’s effects on taxpayers; new allegations of sexual impropriety against politicians and celebrities; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; North Korea’s nuclear program and threats against the U.S.; former “Apprentice” star Omarosa Onée Manigault-Newman exits her White House position; and NFL/NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Urban programming pro Ken Johnson returns to New York to serve as program director for Cumulus Media’s urban AC WNBM “Radio 103.9.”  He’ll continue his role as VP of urban formats for the company.  Johnson was PD when Cumulus launched the urban AC format on the station.  Since April of 2015, he’s been operations manager for the company’s urban AC WUHT, Birmingham “Hot 107.7.”  Cumulus New York president and market manager Chad Lopez states, “Everyone at WNBM 103.9 and Cumulus are excited to have Ken Johnson back in New York.  Ken’s expertise and experience in this format will only continue to build a very strong loyal listener base and grow audience.”…..Two more iHeartMedia alternative rock stations pick up Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show,” featuring Woody, Ravey, Greg Gory, Menace and Sebas.  The KYSR, Los Angeles-based morning show will be heard on WOLT-FM “ALT 103.3, Indy’s Alternative” and WDTW-FM “ALT 106.7, Detroit’s New Alternative” beginning January 3…..After two years hosting mornings at Townsquare Media’s country WPKQ, Portland, Maine “103.7 The Peak,” Dave Winsor messages his fans that he’s left the show.  “I’m no longer with ‘103.7 THE PEAK.’  The company did the best it could within its power to keep the show going, but it’s not to be.  Where will I go?  Who knows.  But, I’ll always be grateful to you!”

November 2017 PPM Analysis: Mainstream CHR

| December 13, 2017

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — A thorough examination of mainstream CHR will put a bright seasonal bow around our four-part series reviewing November 2017 ratings performances.

Earlier recaps addressed news/talk (last Friday, 12/8); NBA flagships (Monday, 12/11); and adult hits (yesterday, 12/12).

As was the case with those other three overviews, our mainstream CHR analysis is comprised of data from PPM-market facilities that rank in the top 20 (6+, November 2017).

Bookends for these four recaps (news/talk and mainstream CHR) represent two of the three largest sample bases (historically) in the medium, with country being the other.

Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for facilities that subscribe to its services. Owing to that reason, ratings stats in this exclusive mainstream CHR breakdown are limited to stations that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.

The company’s November 2017 ratings period covered October 12 – November 8.

Read More

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

| December 13, 2017

Stationality Forces Cumulus’ Hand in Cancellation of Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano Show on WLS-AM.  Windy City news/talk WLS-AM is making a change to its programming lineup in January and husband-and-wife midday team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano are the casualties of the change.  WLS-AM will import Cumulus-syndicated Chris Plante for the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show and push Premiere Network’s Rush Limbaugh back to an 11:00 am start in order to air live.  Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder that he respects Sirott and Murciano greatly.  “The lane we’ve chosen to be in is the conservative talk station in this marketplace.  We just don’t think that’s what they bring to the table.”

Portland Sports Talker KPOJ Re-Branded; Cable-Radio Simulcast for New Local Shows.  A major co-operative effort between iHeartMedia’s sports talk KPOJ, Portland and NBC Sports Northwest is announced that will include a cable TV simulcast of the station’s local shows to be produced at “a new state-of-the-art radio studio being built at NBC Sports Northwest.”  The current morning show “Rip City Mornings with Dan & Nigel” and afternoon program “Rip City Drive with Travis & Chad” will be joined by the new “Dwight Jaynes & Aaron Fentress Show” (airing 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) for the simulcast.  Meanwhile, starting in January, the station will call itself “NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio.”  It will continue to air FOX Sports Radio’s Rich Eisen from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  iHeartMedia Markets Group president of Pacific Northwest Region Robert Dove says, “We are excited to partner with NBC Sports Northwest to bring ‘Rip City Radio’ listeners the best in local sports programming.  Our combined assets will provide even more access for Portland sports fans across both TV and radio, including enhanced audio and visual content for Trailblazer fans all in one destination.”

WABC’s Curtis Sliwa to Be Off Air While Recovering from Crohn’s Surgery.  New York radio personality Curtis Sliwa is undergoing surgery to alleviate the problems he’s been dealing with from Crohn’s disease over the past two years.  Sliwa tells TALKERS the Crohn’s has taken a toll on his health.  “I have lost my muscle mass and, in the process, 60 pounds.  The pain throughout has been horrific.  At times, it caused me to pass out and gather into a fetal position on the floor.  Often times the only way that I could keep broadcasting was to take ‘Hillbilly Heroin,’ a.k.a Oxycodone, to suppress the overwhelming pain.  The cause of the ulcerated intestines that will be removed during the procedure were the five gun shots I was hit with in my lower extremities in the summer of 1992, the result of a hit ordered on me by John Gotti for what I was saying on the radio about the Gambino Crime Family.  Best-case scenario is that it will take me a week of recovery at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.  Worst-case scenario, a month or more.”  Sliwa says WABC management will be using a series of replacements for both of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and the “The Drive Home” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Mike Francesa Hosts Penultimate WFAN Show from Paley Center. Tomorrow afternoon (12/14), New York sports talk radio legend Mike Francesa will broadcast his second-last show on Entercom’s WFAN “Sports Radio 660 AM – 101.9 FM” live before a studio audience from the Paley Center for Media.  Entercom is inviting the media to cover the event and is making Francesa available for one-on-one interviews prior to the show.  Francesa – who has been a bit cagey about his post-WFAN plans – has said he’ll broadcast solo on Friday with no guests or special content.  He is being replaced by the trio of Chris Carlin, Bart Scott, and Maggie Gray, effective in January.

WFDF, Detroit Suspends Reverend W.J. Rideout’s Show for Accusation Lacking ‘Journalistic Standards.’  As reported by the Detroit Free Press, WFDF, Detroit “910AM Superstation” founder and CEO Kevin Adell has suspended the program of local pastor Reverend W.J. Rideout III after the latter accused three members of the Detroit media of sexual harassment but was unable to point to any victims or reports of allegations.  Adell tells the paper that the suspension was handed down for obvious reasons.  “Rev. Rideout was making these accusations and I asked, where are the victims?  He had no victims…My question is where are the standards?  What are the journalistic standards?  Where are the victims?  Former victims?  You have to have journalistic standards.  I don’t want people to use my airwaves to feather a nest for media attention.”  Rideout said that WXYT-TV, Detroit general manager Mike Murri received complaints about anchors Malcolm Maddox and Steven Clark but refused to investigate.  He also accused Detroit Free Press journalist Stephen Henderson.

TALKERS News Notes.  Texas talk show host Sam Malone – based at Salem Media Group’s KNTH, Houston “AM 1070 The Answer” – was embedded with the Roy Moore campaign reporting for Salem Radio Network on the Alabama Senate special election, yesterday (12/12).  Malone (left) is pictured here with former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon (right), who is now co-hosting the “Breitbart News Daily” program on SiriusXM…..Tribune news/talk WGN, Chicago is debuting “The WGN Radio Holiday Spectacular,” – a live, variety show featuring the station’s talent – on Friday (12/15) from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  It’s being co-hosted by Bill Leff and Dometi Pongo.  Listeners will be treated to seasonal songs, classic stories, yuletide poetry and a live report from a certain workshop at the North Pole over the course of the two-hour show.  This holiday revue stars: Steve Cochran, Andrea Darlas, Roe Conn, Anna Davlantes, Nick Digilio, Patti Vasquez, Justin Kaufmann, Lou Manfredini, and many more with a dramatic reading from the great Bill Kurtis.  Retro rock and roll band Rosie and the Rivets will perform as the house band…..From December 18 through New Year’s Day, SiriusXM’s Howard 100 channel will feature the best of Howard Stern’s celebrity interviews from 2017.   Some of the stars featured on “Howard 101: The Interviews” include: Miley Cyrus, Kevin Hart, Scarlett Johansson, David Letterman, Adam Levine, Robert Plant, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, and more, as well as news figures ranging from Rachel Maddow to Robert O’Neill, the Navy Seal credited with killing Osama Bin Laden…..Speaking of Kevin Hart, he’s getting his own channel with SiriusXM called Laugh Out Loud.  The channel extends Hart’s Laugh Out Loud brand to radio for the first time. It will launch in 2018 and will feature a weekly show hosted by Hart.  He’ll also handpick a selection of diverse comedic voices to create, produce and star on the channel’s wide range of comedy programming…..…..Entercom Communications announces new call letters for “CBS Sports 910” in Hesperia, California from KRAK to KMPS-AM.  The announcement comes after Entercom’s merger with CBS RADIO…..The sale of translator W290AT, Plattsburgh, New York from Saranac Lake Radio LLC to Vox AM/FM LLC closes.  The buyer paid $20,000 cash at closing and the exclusive broker for the deal was Patrick Communications.

Roy Moore-Doug Jones Special Election; Larry King Allegations/NFL Network Suspensions, NYC Pipe Bomb Attack, North Korea Nuclear Program, Jerusalem Recognition Aftermath, California Wildfires, Bitcoin Activity, Last Jedi Criticism, Facebook ‘Guilt,’ NFL and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12).  Yesterday’s special election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat; allegations of groping against Larry King and the suspension of numerous NFL Network personalities during an investigation of sexual misconduct; Monday’s pipe bomb attack and information about the suspect; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and threats against the US; the effects of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel; the raging wildfires in Southern California; the hoopla over Bitcoin activity; the critical previews of the new Star Wars film The Last Jedi; a former Facebook exec’s public expression of remorse over social media’s effects on society; and NFL and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

PPM Analysis: CHRTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey, today focusing on CHR.  Comparing 6+ weekly AQH shares from October’s survey to this month, Kinosian says, “Nearly the same number of our mainstream CHR panelists are up October 2017 – November 2017 (47%) as are down (41%); the remaining 12% are unchanged.”  A year-over-year comparison shows different results.  “Six of 10 stations in this mainstream CHR sample are down November 2016 – November 2017 (60%); roughly one of three improve (35%); and 5% remain steady.”  The high-cuming format racked up 17 stations ranking in the top five in their respective markets in November.  But, just one – iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108 FM” – ranked #1.  See the entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At the Washington cluster of iHeartMedia, Elizabethany is the new assistant program director and afternoon drive personality for CHR WIHT “HOT 99.5.”  Beginning in January, she’ll host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm show.  “HOT 99.5” program director Rob Kruz comments, “I couldn’t be more excited to have Elizabethany in this new role at iHeartMedia Washington.  Her energy and creativity both in and out of the studio, combined with a track record of ratings success, make her the perfect choice to take over afternoons on ‘HOT 99.5!’”…..iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles radio stations are launching the iHeartRadio So Cal Fire Relief Project to raise funds for victims of the ongoing Southern California wildfires. The effort is in conjunction with Westfield – owner of four malls in the LA area.  iHeartMedia talent will broadcast live from those locations, encouraging people to donate to the fund.  All donations are being distributed through three local organizations including the American Red Cross, The Humane Society of Ventura County and the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation…..Cumulus Media Des Moines is hosting the Big Country Bash 2018 – a two-day country music festival on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23, 2018 at Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater in St. Charles, Iowa.  Artists including Brett Eldredge, Midland, Aaron Watson, and Russell Dickerson are already signed up to appear, with more artists to be announced later…..Entercom Philadelphia’s station group is producing the first annual “Holiday Hops Craft Beer Festival.”  Attendees aged 21 years and older are invited to revel in the holiday spirit by enjoying a wide variety of beers and wearing their ugly sweaters.  The festive event will include a photo booth with mistletoe, free parking and live music along with unlimited samplings from some 25 craft breweries…..Entercom announces it’s bringing new call letters to its Seattle adult contemporary “94.1 The Sound,” importing KSWD-FM from its longtime position as the calls for the Los Angeles classic rocker.  The station was sold to Educational Media Foundation as part of the company’s divestiture of stations prior to the CBS RADIO merger.  It’s now a Christian contemporary station with the calls KKLQ.

‘Radio’s Best Friend’ Honored in NYC.  “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo was “surprised out of his wits” last Saturday night when – while attending a private client party in Manhattan hosted by voiceover pro Steve Kamer and “Entertainment Tonight” producer Kevin Gershan – it was announced that Vuolo was a “special guest.”  Vuolo was presented with a cake and a microphone trophy with a gold plaque commemorating the event.  Vuolo says, “It’s truly special to be so appreciated.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): Gershan, Kamer, and Vuolo.

November 2017 PPM Analysis: Adult Hits

| December 12, 2017

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — Our four-part series of November 2017 ratings overviews continues with an in-depth examination of adult hits.

Previously posted were similar ratings summaries for news/talk operations (12/8) and NBA flagships (yesterday, 12/11).

This analysis of adult hits stations is comprised of PPM-market facilities that rank in the top 20 (6+) in the November 2017 ratings sweep, which covered October 12 through

November 8.

Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for facilities that subscribe to its services. For that reason, ratings stats and information in the following charts are limited to stations that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.

Bottom-line: While there may not be a great many PPM-market adult hits stations, the vast majority in our November 2017 sample did quite well. In fact, the adult hits format claims the strongest 6+-share (5.43) and best average 6+-rank (#6.47), easily outdistancing news/talk (3.80/#11.02) and the NBA flagships (2.63/#17.30) in those areas.

Read More

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

| December 12, 2017

Wisconsin Talk Host Admits to Sexual Misconduct.  What was so unusual about WHBY, Appleton talk host Josh Dukelow’s admission was that there was no accusation – Dukelow simply spoke on air about an incident in his past that made him realize he had sexually assaulted and harassed women, that he regrets his actions and hopes more men will come forward during this national conversation about sexual misconduct by men.  The Appleton Post-Crescent reports that he made the admission on Friday’s show and it caused quite a social media stir in the region over the weekend.  Woodward Communications has not fired Dukelow and, although he was off the air Monday, he’s expected back today.  The paper reports Woodward general manager Kelly Radandt released the following statement about Dukelow: “Following his comments Friday, we immediately began gathering information and have had several conversations with Josh.  As a company, we take sexual harassment very seriously and are diligent with incorporating employee training and policies.  We have never received any sexual harassment allegations against Josh.  At this time, given the details he has provided — both to us and now publicly — there will be no changes to his current employment with our station.”

Lenz to Co-Anchor Mornings on KOA, Denver.  Six months after KOA, Denver morning drive co-host Steffan Tubbs was let go after being charged with domestic violence (a charge that has subsequently been dropped), iHeartMedia announces that Marty Lenz will leave Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco to assume the morning host role at KOA, effective January 8.  Lenz will work alongside current KOA personality April Zesbaugh.  iHeartMedia Denver Region president Tim Hagar says, “Following an exhaustive nationwide search, it was clear that Marty Lenz is uniquely qualified to join KOA Newsradio.  Marty’s news prowess, engaging personality and Denver roots are sure to fuel the growth for ‘Colorado’s Morning News’ in 2018 and beyond.”

Ron Coomer Re-Ups with WSCR, Chicago for Cubs Broadcasts.  Chicago sports talker WSCR and the Chicago Cubs are announcing that radio color analyst Ken Coomer will return to “The Score” in that role alongside Cubs play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes.  Entercom Chicago SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “Ron is one of the most talented analysts in baseball and we are honored to have him on our team at ‘The Score.’  Ron brings the passion and success he had as former MLB All-Star to the airwaves of Cubs baseball and hits a homerun with Cubs fans.”  Coomer first joined the Cubs Radio Network in December of 2013 (succeeding Keith Moreland) on WGN.  He remained in the booth as games moved to then-CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM.

Salem Radio Network Presenting Alabama Special Election Coverage.  Today’s hotly contested U.S. Senate special election in Alabama is being covered by Salem Radio Network.  The company says that at the first sign of significant election results, SRN News will mount one-minute special reports on SNN left at :20-past and 40:00-past the hour.   They will have the latest trending results in SRN News top-of-hour broadcasts and SRN News half-hour updates.  Also, Salem Media Group Houston talk host Sam Malone is embedded at Republican candidate Roy Moore’s victory party in Montgomery and will provide perspective and analysis throughout the evening on both SRN News and TOWNHALL.com newscasts.

iHeartCommunications Files Intent to Sell CC Outdoor Stock.  The company doesn’t make clear in its brief filing with the Securities Exchange Commission what it would do with the money, but iHeartMedia parent iHeartCommunications, Inc. announces it’s “currently exploring a possible private capital-raising transaction supported by the value of some or all of the 100,000,000 shares of Class B common stock of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (“CCOH”) held by its wholly-owned subsidiary Broader Media, LLC and the 10,726,917 shares of Class A common stock held by its wholly-owned subsidiary CC Finco, LLC. Such transaction, if agreed upon and consummated on the terms being explored, would result in the pledge of these shares for the benefit of the investors.”

TALKERS News Notes.  In Chicago, Robert Feder writes here that Mark Pinsky is assuming general manager duties at Newsweb‘s progressive talk station WCPT-AM.  Pinsky has been serving with the company managing its five time-brokered radio stations in the Chicagoland market…..New affiliates have signed onto Westwood One’s “Checkpoint Radio,” a show dedicated to the world of esports and gaming.  New stations include: KTCT-AM, San Francisco; KKFN-FM, Denver; WOKY-AM,Milwaukee; and WNSR-AM, Nashville.  The program is hosted by Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard and Joe Sloan…..United Stations Radio Networks and Bloomberg Radio are teaming up to produce and distribute an original series of “Tax Tips” to be broadcast during the height of the 2018 tax season.   The 30-second tips are being written and anchored by Bloomberg correspondent Peggy Collins and the full series is slated for broadcast starting on February 5, 2018…..SiriusXM unveils a new programming collaboration with news website Shareblue Media for the satcaster’s Progress channel.  Shareblue Media is owned by Media Matters founder David Brock.   SiriusXM director of progressive programming Zerlina Maxwell states, “The election of Donald Trump has energized the Progressive base like never before.  We’re proud to team up with Shareblue Media and share their crucial voice with SiriusXM’s vast audience.  Together we will provide fellow progressives with not only information, but marching orders on how to push back against the Trump administration’s agenda.”

WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley Takes Listeners on Tour of FOX News Channel.  Yesterday’s trip into New York City for WPGG, Atlantic City morning star Harry Hurley and his group of local listeners turned out to be even more eventful than they thought it would be.  Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that his group arrived four blocks away from the terrorist pipe bombing at exactly the time the explosion rang out.  As for the tour, Hurley (left) says, “Brian Kilmeade (right), Ainsley Earhardt, Steve Doocy, and Todd Starnes couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating, especially considering the circumstances.  Giving listeners the opportunity to see how the national news is gathered and reported from the inside-out versus the outside-in is extraordinary.”

NYC Pipe Bomb Attack, Roy Moore Candidacy, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Sexual Impropriety Cases, California Wildfires, Bitcoin Activity, Mueller’s Trump-Russia Investigation, Sanders vs Media, Sunday’s NFL Action and Attendance, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11).  Monday morning’s pipe bomb terrorist attack in New York; today’s special election in Alabama pitting embattled Republican Roy Moore against Democrat Doug Jones; the Republican-authored tax reform bill; the continuing allegations of sexual impropriety, including The New Yorker’s firing of journalist Ryan Lizza, and the NFL Network’s suspension of Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, and Heath Evans; the devastating wildfires in Southern California; the surging value of bitcoin; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; yesterday’s verbal sparring between White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the press; Sunday’s NFL action and analysis of attendance figures; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS and Hillsdale College Co-Present Major Talk Radio Discussion/Debate on “Media and Journalism in the Age of Trump.” TALKERS joined forces with Hillsdale College of Hillsdale, Michigan this past Tuesday (12/5) to present a conversation on the topic, “Media and Journalism in the Age of Trump.” The panel of seven diverse talk media hosts included (in alphabetical order): Scot Bertram, Hillsdale College Radio/WRFH; John Fredericks, John Fredericks Radio Network; Dom Giordano, WPHT, Philadelphia; Hugh Hewitt, Salem Radio Network; Joe Madison, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Janet Parshall, Moody Radio Network; and Bill Press, TYT Radio Network. The panel was moderated by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison. The lively discussion covered a variety of issues ranging from the meaning and impact of “fake news” to the state of the First Amendment in 2017 exploring ethics in journalism, the impact of digital technology on the news, race relations in America, and the controversial demeanor of President Trump along the way. The event took place at Hillsdale College’s distinguished Washington, DC extension, the Alan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship. Reflecting on the event, Michael Harrison comments, “I knew it would be challenging keeping a discussion among such an opinionated, articulate group of talkers from going off the tracks considering the controversial and volatile nature of the topics at hand. However, I was delighted at the tremendous good spirit and collegiality displayed by all the participants. It was a productive and informative session. My thanks to all involved including our partners at Hillsdale.” To view the forum in its entirety, please click here.

 

 

PPM Analysis: Adult Hits. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the third of four analyses of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey, today focusing on the adult hits format. He writes that although the number of stations airing adult hits is not large, as a format in the PPM markets, it’s performed well. “In fact, the adult hits format claims the strongest 6+ share (5.43) and best average 6+ rank (#6.47), easily outdistancing news/talk (3.80/#11.02) and the NBA flagships (2.63/#17.30) in those areas.” There are nine adult hits stations that ranked in the top five in their respective markets in November. Emmis’ KBPA, Austin “BOB FM 103.5” ranked #1; Entercom’s WSMW, Greensboro “98.7 Simon” ranked #2; and Saul Frischling’s WRRK, Pittsburgh “BOB FM 96.9” and Midwest Communications’ WCJK, Nashville “96.3 JACK FM” both ranked #3 in their markets. See the whole report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At Seattle country outlet KKWF, “100.7 The Wolf,” Ellen Tailor tells her listeners that she’s leaving the station this Thursday (12/14).  Tailor joined the Entercom station in 2011 as part of the morning show.  She moved to middays in September…..Yet another iHeartMedia alternative rock station adds Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show” for the morning drive daypart.  This time it’s WTHR, Wichita “ALT 107.3, Wichita’s Alternative Rock.”  WTHR will carry the show Monday through Saturday.