U.S. Bankruptcy Court Approves Cumulus Plan. The company announces that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York has confirmed its Plan of Reorganization. Cumulus Media says it expects to emerge from Chapter 11 before the end of the quarter, after the conditions to the Plan are satisfied. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “The Court’s approval of our Plan allows us to complete the balance sheet restructuring that is critical to the success of our turnaround strategy. With a firmer financial foundation in place, we look forward to continuing to implement the business initiatives that have already taken this Company so far. The financial and operational progress we have already experienced are a testament to the tenacity and commitment of the entire Cumulus team. We also greatly appreciate the ongoing support of our advertisers, vendors, and affiliates as we continue to provide high-quality programming to our millions of listeners across the country.” Prior to entering Chapter 11 reorganization, Cumulus was saddled with more than $2 billion in debt. Upon completion of the restructuring process, the company says its debt will have been reduced by more than $1 billion and it “will have greater financial flexibility with which to support its ongoing business transformation.”
Entercom Simulcasts Sports Content on KGMZ-AM, San Francisco. KGMZ-AM, San Francisco is now simulcasting content from Entercom’s sister sports talk outlet KGMZ-FM “95.7 The Game.” The company says in addition to carrying the daily lineup of Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal and Dan Dibley in mornings; Matt Steinmetz & Daryle “The Guru” Johnson in late mornings; Greg Papa in early afternoons; Damon Bruce in afternoon drive and Chris Townsend in evenings; the station will also air Oakland A’s baseball when conflicts arise with Golden State Warriors playoff hoops. Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz says, “With the overlap of play-by-play between our athletic partners, we launched sports content on the AM frequency to provide our fans with more options to listen to all of their favorite games. This also gives us the opportunity in the future to create additional exclusive programming on 1550 AM to super serve Bay Area sports fans.”
2018 Hofstra University/RTDNA Newsroom Survey Released. The 2018 edition of the Hofstra University/RTDNA Newsroom Survey is being released and is available for purchase for $25. The survey provides insight into the state of local news in television and radio. The Bob Papper-authored survey also reports on salaries in newsrooms. This year’s survey indicates that radio news salaries rose 2.8% compared to the year prior. That’s one-tenth of a point behind average U.S. wages. See more here.
Trump-Russia Investigation, Mexico Border Security/Caravan Asylum Seekers, Iran Nuclear Deal, Tom Brokaw Allegations, North-South Korea Talks, Kanye West Controversies, Rising Oil Prices, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents, including special counsel Robert Mueller’s list of questions for President Trump and the threat of a subpoena; security at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of “caravan Asylum seekers”; President Trump’s stance on the Iran nuclear deal and Israel’s attempt to suggest Iran has been dishonest; allegations NBC news icon Tom Brokaw made unwanted sexual advances to women years ago; the proposed peace talks between North and South Korea and President Trump’s role in the process; Kanye West’s recent series of controversial statements and vocal support of President Trump; rising oil prices and speculation about higher summer gas prices; Major League Baseball action; and NBA playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. No one at iHeartMedia Houston is commenting but it’s being reported in numerous places that KBME, Houston morning sports talk host Josh Innes has been suspended by the station, ostensibly for his part in an on-air feud with fellow host Adam Clanton, who last week exited the station where he was co-host of the afternoon drive show with Jayson Braddock and Sean Jones. The reason for his departure is not clear but it’s being speculated that the feud had something to do with it……Next Wednesday (5/9) is the debut of the Gregg “Opie” Hughes podcast on the Westwood One Podcast Network. The company says that “Opie Radio” will “feature Opie hitting the streets and podcasting from surprise locations with his famous friends, including Carl Ruiz from the Food Network, comedians Vic Henley and Sherrod Small, and many more.” New episodes will be released every Monday and Wednesday. Cumulus EVP marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Westwood One Podcast Network is the ideal platform for Opie to open up and tell his story. Opie is a star, with a massive following and great chemistry with our head of digital content, Tim Sabean. This is a new chapter for Opie and we’re giving him the creative freedom to develop a unique podcast that will reveal his true nature.” Check out the show’s teaser here…..Envision Networks says its syndicated “Our Auto Expert” vignette – featuring auto expert Nik Miles – is now syndicated to more than 700 affiliate stations. Miles is quoted saying, “There are 268 million cars on the road in America. We are the original Car Nation. We celebrate our freedom and our mobility every day by driving. We think that’s why we have been so successful talking to people about something they love and something they spend their hard earned money on.” Affiliate stations receive a daily, 45-second audio report for use on-air and online, plus two videos per month to use on their website and on demand…..Cumulus Media appoints Jim Riley vice president and market manager for its Buffalo station group that includes sports talk WHLD. Riley returns to Buffalo where he was GSM for the cluster before leaving to head up the company’s Erie cluster in 2005…..CBS News is relaunching “Intelligence Matters” – the podcast hosted by former CIA Acting Director and CBS News national security contributor Michael Morell. The first podcast (released 5/2) features an in-depth interview with former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden. Morell says, “The podcast will educate listeners on the complex national security issues facing the nation and do so in a way that is entertaining and non-partisan, a place free of politics, just like national security should be. Each podcast will deliver listeners critical insight into how the U.S. national security and intelligence community operates as well as an insider perspective on the world around us from people who know best.”…..The “Bob & Tom Show” signs a new, multi-year agreement with Westwood One to continue their syndication arrangement. Show co-host Tom Griswold says, “Our show is getting bigger and better all the time, thanks to our great relationship with Westwood One. In the dizzying world of digital technology, including an ever-changing radio world, it’s terrific to be part of the Westwood One team. They understand the importance of great content, and the ability to deliver it on multiple media platforms.” The program is heard on some 100 affiliate stations…..CBS News Radio executive editor and correspondent Steve Dorsey is a finalist in this year’s Livingston Awards from the University of Michigan for his breaking story of the Cuba attacks and subsequent reportage. CBS says that “Steve is one of three audio entries and the ONLY commercial radio finalist in a sea of top journalists from The New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker and others.” The Livingston Awards are funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the University of Michigan to support the vital role of a free and independent press. The awards bolster the work of young reporters, create the next generation of journalism leaders and advance civic engagement around powerful storytelling”…..iHeartRadio launches a new, daily news podcast called, “The Daily Dive” – a 15-minute podcast that posts each weekday at 6:00 am ET. The program is hosted by Los Angeles-based producer, writer and editor, Oscar Ramirez. You can hear the new program on iHeartRadio here…..ABC Radio and Skyview Networks gave some of their advertisers a VIP experience at Monday’s season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” live from Hollywood on ABC-TV. Pictured below Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber are ABC Radio’s Steve Jones and Skyview’s Jeanne Marie Condo and Kim Ball along with invited radio advertising buyers.
TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Is Nearing an Early Sellout. The organizers of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! – TALKERS magazine’s 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – set for Friday, June 8 in New York City – is on course to again be an early sellout. Next Friday, May 11 at 5:00 pm ET has been set as the absolute cut-off date past which new registrations will no longer be taken – although according to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We might have to stop taking registrations before that because the number of bodies we can accommodate at this basically intimate gathering is indeed finite.” The power-packed program will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology, as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to on-air and online broadcasting professionals. See the list of speakers and up-to-the-minute agenda as well as registration, hotel and sponsorship information by clicking here. The conference takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the colorful Chelsea District of Manhattan and organizers have arranged for a special hotel deal for conference attendees right across the street at the Hilton New York Fashion District located at 152 West 26th Street, New York. A special block of remarkably priced rooms has been reserved for convention attendees. They will only be available until May 8 or until they sell out – which can come at any moment. The TALKERS editorial board strongly recommends that industry professionals planning on attending the convention make their registrations and hotel reservations as quickly as possible.
Christine Hassler Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Best-selling author, keynote speaker, master coach, podcaster and TV host Christine Hassler is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” A world-renowned evangelist for the nascent field of “Spiritual Psychology,” Hassler is the co-host and relationship expert on TLC’s “The Spouse House,” in addition to hosting a weekly podcast titled, “Over It & On With It.” Harrison and Hassler engage in a deep-dive conversation about the intersection between mind and soul, including social media addiction, the characteristics of Millennials, and dealing with life’s major disappointments. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box for “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The KKDA, Dallas-based “DeDe in the Morning” show, hosted by DeDe McGuire, is being launched into national syndication via Compass Media Networks. KKDA “K104” owner Service Broadcasting, McGuire and Compass expect to debut the national rollout in July. McGuire – former longtime co-host of the Doug Banks syndicated program – says, “It is an absolute honor to enter national syndication. With humility, excitement and pride, all of us at ‘DeDe in the Morning’ are 100% committed to continuing to put in all the hard work to make our program a success for our prospective affiliates and national sponsors.”.….Comic Maurice “Moe” Williams is joining the cast of Yea Networks’ syndicated “The Bert Show,” featuring Bert Weiss, Kristin Klingshirn, and Davi Crimmins. Williams will re-locate to Atlanta where the program is based at CHR WWWQ “Q100.”…..Nia Marciante is named promotions director for iHeartMedia‘s country WMZQ and adult contemporary WASH-FM in Washington. iHeartMedia Washington marketing director Kim Sauer says, “Nia is the final piece to an incredibly strong promotions team here in the Washington, D.C. region. I know Nia is the right choice to raise the bar for the WASH and WMZQ brands in the market.” Marciante joins the Washington cluster from iHeartMedia Philadelphia, where she served as promotions assistant…..iHeartMedia alternative rock WRFF, Philadelphia “Radio 104.5” is bringing back its popular Summer Block Party Series that takes place on June 3, July 22, and August 12. Acts signed up for this summer’s free concerts include: AWOLNATION, lovelytheband, Flora Cash, Wallows, and Deadfellow…..iHeartMedia’s CHR WRVW, Nashville “107.5 the River” announces the lineup for its first-ever “Summer Kickoff Party” takin place on May 25. Performing will be Jack & Jack, In Real Life, and Logan Henderson…..Entercom’s alternative KRBZ, Kansas City “96.5 The Buzz” is presenting the “Buzz Beach Ball” on July 29. Acts performing will include: Portugal. The Man, AWOLNATION, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Blue October, Joywave, Robert DeLong, The Getup Kids, lovelytheband, Hembree, Mt. Joy, MANSIONAIR, andL.I.F.T…..iHeartMedia country outlet WEBG, Chicago “BIG 95.5” presented Jason Aldean at Joe’s on Weed St. on Sunday (4/29) and raised more than $32,000 for Susan G. Komen for Breast Cancer research. Pictured below (l-r) are: WEBG program director Lance Houston, WEBG personality Trace in the Truck, Aldean, WEBG afternoon host Brooke Taylor, WEBG promotions director Kelsey King, and WEBG morning personality Alabama.