Anne Gress Named Brand Manager at ‘New Jersey 101.5.’ Radio programming pro Anne Gress is the new brand manager for Townsquare Media’s talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” She takes over for longtime station programmer Eric Johnson, who exited the station at the end of 2017 to become the director of sports content for Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. Townsquare market president and chief revenue officer Ron DeCastro comments, “I am extremely happy to have a true professional like Anne join the team at ‘NJ 101.5.’ I have long admired Anne’s work, going back to our days at ‘Power 99.’ She is innovative, creative and understands how to work with talented people. We are all excited to have her join this winning team.” Gress – who has worked in the Philly market at such stations as hot AC WYXR, smooth jazz WJJZ, hip hop WUSL, and classic hits WOGL – says, “I’m genuinely excited to join the team at Townsquare Media and ‘NJ 101.5.’ Their unique format, rock star staff, and consistently strong ratings make this an irresistible opportunity. I look forward to adding my voice to their highly successful model.”
New Year Brings Dave Ramsey 600th Affiliate; Podcast Achievements. 2018 is off to a great start for talk media superstar Dave Ramsey. His nationally syndicated radio program – The Dave Ramsey Show – just cleared its 600th affiliate station with the addition of Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco. Also, the Dave Ramsey show podcast is being recognized by iTunes as the fourth-most-downloaded podcast of 2017. The podcast averaged 10 million downloads per month. Ramsey Media SVP Brian Mayfield comments, “We are pleased to not only top the 600-affiliate watermark, but to do so with a station the caliber of KSFO is validation we are doing things right. Growing our radio audience by almost 1 million listeners in 2017, while simultaneously becoming the fourth-most-downloaded podcast of the year, shows there is a larger audience searching for solid content. We are honored they chose to listen to ‘The Dave Ramsey Show.’”
Curtis Sliwa Returns to the Air on WABC. New York City talk radio pro Curtis Sliwa – pictured at right walking through the streets of NYC on his way to Columbia Presbyterian to have his stitches removed – was back on the air at 77WABC yesterday (1/8) after a December 13 surgery to treat Crohn’s disease. Sliwa tells TALKERS magazine that yesterday was the first day he was able to do his daily midday show and the 5:00 pm “The Drive at Five” program since last month’s procedure. Speaking about yesterday’s shows, he says, “It was exhausting and I am sore as a result. But having lived on a variety of pain killers for the past two years I was able to jump right back into the ‘Fire and Fury,’ which I actually read. More importantly I am taking it right to Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his opposition to medical marijuana. I will be registering for my medical marijuana card in New York State, which is not easy to get, but for which I now qualify.”
Report from CES 2018. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas at the enormous CES 2018, presented by the Consumer Technology Association. He’ll be filing reports from Sin City in TALKERS magazine all week. Check out his notes from yesterday’s action here.
Salem Media Group Announces Executive Appointments. First, Jamie Cohen is the new vice president/local digital. He was most recently with USAToday Network where he was in charge of digital sales. Salem Media Group president of broadcast media David Santrella states, “Providing our clients with multi-dimensional marketing campaigns that include best-in-class digital services is vital to our continued growth. Jamie has the drive and experience to lead that evolution for Salem’s broadcast division and I’m thrilled to have him joining us in this key position.” Second, Lorenzo Caldara is named general manager of the Philadelphia duo of news/talk WNTP and Christian talk WFIL. Caldara was most recently VP/corporate director of sales for Townsquare Media’s WKXQ, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” And third, the company promotes Kevin Anderson from general sales manager to general manager for the five-station Nashville cluster.
Fire and Fury Book/Trump’s Presidential Fitness, Golden Globe Awards/Oprah Presidential Run, Trump Deportation Policy/Mexican Wall, CNN’s Tapper-Miller Interview, Soaring Dow/Bitcoin, North-South Korea Talks, Monday’s College Football Championship, and the NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9). The controversy over Michael Wolff’s Trump book Fire and Fury, the issue of Donald Trump’s mental fitness, and Stephen K. Bannon’s relationship with the White House; Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards and the related chatter about an Oprah Winfrey presidential run; the Trump Administration’s Salvadoran deportation policy and the Mexican Wall issue; the flap over Jake Tapper’s interview with Trump counsel Stephen Miller on CNN; the high-flying Dow and the fluctuating Bitcoin; the talks between North and South Korea; Monday night’s College Football Championship between Alabama and Georgia; and the NFL Playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WABC’s John Batchelor to Broadcast from Qatar. Night host John Batchelor is broadcasting his WABC, New York talk show from Doha, Qatar this week after accepting an invitation from the Middle East nation. Batchelor is leading a delegation of visitors including former Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCottter and New York attorney Christopher Nixon Cox. Batchelor is scheduled to speak with high Qatar government officials about regional politics, trends in international trade, and much more. He’ll speak with area ministers, corporate leaders, academics, journalists, students, and artists. And he’ll also provide coverage and discussion about the preparations for the 2022 World Cup taking place in Qatar. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “Batchelor leads the international conversation in talk radio, so it only makes sense that he places focus on Qatar and the entire Persian Gulf region during his show this week.”
TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk host Dana Loesch interviewed Vice President Mike Pence on her Radio America-syndicated program yesterday. The two discussed tax reform, North Korea, The Golden Globes, legislative plans for 2018 as well as the controversial book Fire & Fury (which Pence referred to as a “book of fiction”). On North Korea, Pence told Loesch and her listeners, “President Trump has been marshaling unprecedented economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea. And to have North Korea literally be willing, as they’ll do later today, to sit down with South Korea – just on the topic of Olympics – I think is a direct result of the pressure that President Trump has been able to marshal on North Korea. And we’re not going to relent until North Korea abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”…..Portland news/talk KUFO “Freedom 970” adds the Dave Ramsey show to air in the 9:00 am 12:00 noon daypart. Bruce Collins is the content director for the Alpha Media station and he says, “It’s great to have Dave as part of our lineup giving his wonderful, amazing financial advice.”…..John O’Brien – one half of the “Bax & O’Brien” morning show on Saga Communications’ rock WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts “Rock 102,” is taking time off the radio to undergo and recuperate from surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm. The recovery could take three months, so producer Steve Nagle is ramping up his on-air presence alongside co-host Mike Baxendale…..Somerville, New Jersey-based Edison Research announces it has additional office space and promoted a number of employees as part of a significant expansion due to growth in its election and audio research. Edison has been the sole provider of exit polling to the National Election Pool since 2003. In mid-2017, the company was also awarded the sole contract to provide vote count data to the NEP, and many of the company’s new hires will be dedicated to that effort. In addition, Edison is expanding its digital audio portfolio, as the company has seen significant growth in research engagements in podcasting, streaming audio, and the syndicated Share of Ear research series. Edison Research president Larry Rosin comments, “We are honored by the immense trust placed upon us by our election, media, and consumer research clients over the past 24 years and we are thrilled to be able to continue to grow and expand our capabilities. We know we have the right team in place to continue to achieve our objectives.”…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs tells TALKERS magazine she’s celebrating her ninth anniversary hosting a talk radio show. She says, “What started as a once-a-week broadcast on January 9, 2009 has now become a dream come true. Thanks for all your support.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. “Y108” in Pittsburgh announces two new voices joining the morning drive “Broadway’s Backyard” program. Entercom’s country WDSY brings Jade and Cowboy Curt aboard as co-hosts alongside show host Broadway. Jade has been a promotions assistant, control operator and part-time talent on the station. Cowboy Curt was most recently the control operator for sister stations KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” and KDKA-AM “News Radio 1020”…..The nationally syndicated music morning program “The Bert Show” is seeking a co-host. Brian Moote is exiting after two years to be closer to his family in Los Angeles. Send resume and audio submissions highlighting your personality to firstname.lastname@example.org…..Classic rock WLPW-FM, Lake Placid, New York is sold to North Country Radio for $32,000 cash. The seller, Radio Lake Placid, is represented by Jason James of Patrick Communications…..The latest Westwood One blog post looks at the results from a question asked by researcher Vision Critical/MARU: How many Pandora, Spotify, and AM/FM radio listeners actually hear ads? WW1 says the results indicated “only 54% of Pandora and Spotify listeners pay attention to ads. Advertisers hoping to reach an engaged audience won’t be effective across these platforms. These listeners are using Pandora and Spotify at home, with these services being great for “chilling out” but not so great for engaging with the advertisements. AM/FM radio sees a much different story. On average, 84% of the AM/FM radio audience hears the ads. Whether they are at home, at work, or traveling in the car, the results show that consumers hear what people are talking about when they listen to AM/FM radio.”…..Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner will be the spotlight of a keynote conversation at Country Radio Seminar 2018 on Tuesday, February 6. Emmis Communications’ Charlie Morgan is conducting the interview, titled, “Radio Today with Cumulus Media’s CEO Mary Berner.”
PPM Analysis: Hot AC. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on 6+ data from Nielsen Audio’s December PPM survey, today focusing on the hot AC format. Looking at ratings movement month-to-month, Kinosian says, “Twice as many stations on this hot AC panel (58%) are down November 2017 – December 2017 (6+) as are up (29%); the remaining 13% are flat. Comparing December 2016 to December 2017, approximately one of every two hot AC panelists in our sample improves year-to-year (51%), while 44% are down; 5% are flat.” During this survey, three hot AC stations ranked #1 in their respective markets: iHeartMedia’s WLIT, Chicago; Connoisseur Media’s WALK-FM, Long Island; and Palm Beach Broadcasting’s WRMF, West Palm Beach. See the rest of the report here.